About this book
The last few years have witnessed a substantial maturing of long life Stirling-cycle cryocoolers built upon the heritage of the flexure-bearing cryocoolers from Oxford University, and have seen the emergence of mature pulse tube cryocoolers competing head-to-head with the Stirling cryocoolers. Hydrogen sorption cryocoolers, Gifford-McMahon cryocoolers with rare earth regenerators, and helium Joule-Thomson cryocoolers have also made tremendous progress in opening up applications in the 4 K to 10 K temperature range. Tactical Stirling cryocoolers, now commonplace in the defense industry, are finding application in a number of cost constrained commercial applications and space missions, and are achieving ever longer lives as they move to linear-drive, clearance-seal compressors. Building on this expanding availability of commercially viable cryocoolers, numerous new applications are being enabled; many of these involve infrared imaging systems, and high temperature superconductors in the medical and communications fields. The vibration sensitivity of many of the infrared and medical imaging applications has led to the recognition that cryocooler-generated vibration and EMI is a critical performance parameter for these applications. In response, advanced closed-loop active vibration control systems have been developed and are being delivered to their first users. Application experiments, designed to explore, troubleshoot and resolve product integration issues, are occurring on an ever widening front, particularly in the fields of infrared imaging and spectroscopy, gamma-ray spectroscopy, and high-temperature superconductor applications. An important lesson is that integrating cryogenic systems requires care and thoughtfulness in a broad range of engineering and scientific disciplines.