A report describes a pulse tube refrigerator that uses a mixture of 3He and superfluid 4He to cool to temperatures below 300 mK, while rejecting heat at temperatures up to 1.7 K. The refrigerator is driven by a novel thermodynamically reversible pump that is capable of pumping the 3He–4He mixture without the need for moving parts.

The refrigerator consists of a reversible thermal magnetic pump module, two warm heat exchangers, a recuperative heat exchanger, two cold heat exchangers, two pulse tubes, and an orifice. It is two superfluid pulse tubes that run 180° out of phase. All components of this machine except the reversible thermal pump have been demonstrated at least as proof-of-concept physical models in previous superfluid Stirling cycle machines. The pump consists of two canisters packed with pieces of gadolinium gallium garnet (GGG). The canisters are connected by a superleak (a porous piece of VYCOR® glass). A superconducting magnetic coil surrounds each of the canisters.

This work was done by Franklin K. Miller of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15580-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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