Sorption Cryocoolers

A continous operation, vibration-fre, long-life 20 K hydrogen sorption cryocooler has been built and is now in final integration and performance testing (L.A. Wade & A. R. Levy). This cooler will be flown on a long duration balloon as part of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) cosmic microwave background radiation anisotropy experiment.

The cooler uses hydrogen as the refrigerant and LaNi4.8Sn0.2 as the hydride sorbent. The materials, components, design margins, and assembly procedures are entirely consistent with space-flight qualification requirements.

In addition to being vibration-free, which is important for bolometers, the mass and power requirements are significantly less than the alternative Stirling cycle refridgerators.

The schematic and a black and white photo of the sorption cooler follow. Color pictures and more information are available on the Sorption Cooler page.

A sorption cryocooler has been flown on the Shuttle by Lawrence A Wade. It is know as the BETSCE (Brillant Eyes Ten-Kelvin Sorption Cryocooler Experiment. The inflight performance of BETSCE has validated the use of hydride sorption coolers in space. No on-orbit degradation of the performance was observed.

Return to the Planck Information page for a more complete description of Planck, formerly called COBRAS/SAMBA.

Return to the Smoot Group page for a complete description of Dr. Smoot's group's research activities.

Revised 14 August 1996;