Low-power cryocooler survey

Hermanus J.M. ter Brake, G.F.M. Wiegerinck

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A cryocooler survey has been performed on data of 235 cryocoolers, with cooling powers below some tens of watts and operating between 4 and 120 K. The state-of-the-art is discussed and trends are investigated on cooling performance, mass and size, cost, lifetime and reliability. The data were compared with earlier surveys to explore historical trends. Improvements in cooling performance were mainly in 80 K cryocoolers, an increase in efficiency by about a factor of 5. Coolers did not reduce in size significantly. Main reduction was in 80 K coolers because of the higher efficiency. In the survey, cost is related to input power, cooling power and operating temperature. Cost development is considered and related to learning curves. Since the mid-90s, the lifetime of Stirling-type cryocoolers has increased by one order of magnitude from typically 0.5 to 5 years or more. The confusion that exists on the term “reliability” is discussed.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)705-718
Number of pages14
JournalPhysica C
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Stirling (E)
  • IR-74762
  • Brayton cycle (E)
  • Joule–Thomson coolers (E)
  • Pulse tube (E)
  • METIS-207732
  • Gifford–McMahon (E)

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