Advanced Multi-Stage Cryogenic Cooling Technology

Period of Performance: 05/14/2002 - 05/16/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Stirling Technology CO.
4208 West Clearwater Ave
Kennewick, WA 99336
Principal Investigator


Stirling Technology Company (STC) proposes to conceptually design a multi-stage cryocooler, capable of lifting up to 2 watts at 35 K with additional heat loads at higher temperatures and rejecting to an 300 K environment, that meets Air Force criteria for robustness and compact size. The compressor will be based on STC's existing high-production linear alternator/motor design. Bench testing of the linear alternator at the cooler drive frequency will also be conducted in Phase I. While cryocoolers with heat lifting capacities of over 2 watts at 35 K have already been developed, a low-maintenance, reliable and robust multistage cryocooler is required for use by the Air Force. STC has developed compact, light-weight cryocoolers based on existing linear compressor technology. The RemoteGenT family of engines and the BeCoolT family of cryocoolers have accumulated over 300,000 hours of operation collectively. A single Stirling engine has been in operation at STC for over 66,000 hours without maintenance or performance degradation. NASA has selected STC to provide Stirling engines for deep space and planetary missions. These missions require units with very high reliability and robustness. Testing has been conducted to determine the reliability and robustness of the space power generators, including operating the engine under launch load conditions. The proposed cryocooler will leverage as heavily as possible from the linear motor/alternator design of these engines to provide a very reliable, robust, compact, light-weight, low-maintenance pulse tube cryocooler.