Superconducting electronics and spectral-spatial holography have the potential to revolutionize digital communications, but must operate at cryogenic temperatures, near 4 Kelvin. Liquid helium is undesirable for military missions due to logistics and scarcity. Commercial low temperature cryocoolers are unable to meet size, weight, power, and environmental requirements for many missions. To address this need, Creare is developing a reverse turbo-Brayton cryocooler that provides refrigeration at 4.2 K. Heat is rejected at 77 K to an upper-stage cryocooler or through boil-off of liquid nitrogen. The cooling system is predicted to reduce size, weight, and input power by at least an order of magnitude as compared to the current state-of-the-art 4.2 K cryocooler.
Creare was recently awarded a Phase II SBIR to continue our development of a tactical 4K cryocooler. Additional background information on our development effort can be found here.