Energy storage unit: Solid state demonstrators at 20 K and 6 K

J. Afonso, I. Catarino, D. Martins, J. Ricardo, Ricardo A. Patrício, L. Duband, G. Bonfait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cryocoolers' vibrations prevent them from being used in some sensitive applications. Stopping the cryocooler even for a short period gives rise to a steep drift of temperature. Such a drift can be significantly attenuated by adding an enthalpy reservoir to the cryocooler, separated from its cold finger by a heat switch. The whole assembly for the enthalpy reservoirs and switch is here called ESU, the energy storage unit. Two units have been built and tested based on solid state materials. One unit was designed to work up to 20 K, the other up to 6 K. This paper presents the experimental results obtained for both ESUs. Lead was used for the 20 K ESU while the ceramic GOS (Gd2O 2S) was found adequate for the 6 K ESU. After stopping the cryocooler, a fairly slow temperature drift was measured at each ESU (from 11 to 20 K or from 3 to 6 K, respectively) while applying 10 mW for one hour, for instance. Otherwise, a temperature controlled platform experiment can use an ESU as a cold source allowing a constant temperature. Input power to the ESUs was monitored along with temperature and time. In the case of the 20 K ESU, calculations match the stored amount of energy as well as the temperature drift of the energy reservoir. A study for a high enthalpy intercept at the middle of the switch is also presented here. This intercept shall allow the attenuated temperature drift to hold for longer times. A cryogenic experiment can then be carried on using a cryocooler in a completely silent environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-528
Number of pages7
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


  • Heat capacity (C)
  • Instrumentation (D)
  • Space cryogenic (F)


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