Advanced Cold Head Manufacturing Techniques

Period of Performance: 04/27/2006 - 04/27/2008

$696K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Micro Cooling Concepts, Inc.
7522 Slater Avenue, #122
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Applications for long life cryocoolers include missile detecting and tracking, space and ground surveillance, mapping, weather monitoring, supercomputers/workstations, Earth resources monitoring, astronomy and space-based laser. Cryocoolers are an enabling technology for missions with low temperature detectors, cold optics, thermal shields, and superconducting devices. Cryocoolers are small-scale cryogenic refrigerators with refrigeration capacities ranging from a few milli-Watts to several tens of Watts. The cryocooler cost can be a significant deterrent to developing a mission solution and architecture especially for large cooler production missions such as MDA s Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS). The cold head is a complex part to manufacture and we propose a new method to manufacture the cold head as one part using photo etching and diffusion bonding. This simplifies cold head manufacturing and provides more control over the geometry, particularly the regenerator, allowing a higher level of optimization, which would improve system performance and reduce mass. This program has a high payoff potential, and we have put together a program plan that addresses the fundamental issues associated with proving the technology. The manufacturing expertise of Micro Cooling Concepts combined with the cryocooler experience at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. provides an expert team to perform this work.