There are currently very few cryocooler applications utilizing a cryogenic heat rejection temperature, mainly because, until recently, there have been no long-life cryocooler compressors capable of operating at cryogenic temperatures. However, the recent demonstration of extended operation of Lockheed Martin's microcryocooler compressor at temperatures as low as 130 K has opened up new deep space cryocooler applications utilizing the capability of rejecting heat at very low temperature; for example, cooling JPL's MISE spectrometer for the Europa mission. Having a proven cryocooler technology will very likely generate interest in designing cryogenic missions utilizing very low heat rejection temperatures to improve cooler efficiency, reduce the required electrical power and rejected heat, reduce the cryocooler size and mass, and enable cooling at lower cold tip temperatures. It is also very likely that cryocooler systems will be developed that make use of this proposed cooler in new cooling configurations. For example, the proposed cooler could be mated to more traditional second cooler which would provide the 150K or lower heat rejection temperature, potentially leading to greater system efficiency, since both coolers could be independently optimized.
The recently announced GeoCARB mission by NASA is a prime example of how the advances of a NASA-sponsored development can lead directly to a commercialization success. Our Iris Technology/Lockheed Martin team is a selected GeoCARB Mission Partner and we expect DSCS Phase II to offer a similar path to commercialization. In NASA's own words; "By demonstrating GeoCARB can be flown as a hosted payload on a commercial satellite, the mission will strengthen NASA's partnerships with the commercial satellite industry and provide a model that can be adopted by NASA's international partners to expand these observations to other parts of the world." Our advancements in size, mass and power reductions in DSCS Phase II will make the payload even more attractive for commercial partnerships. Other non-NASA applications include: cryo-pumps for semiconductor manufacturing, radio astronomy, SQUID magnetometers for heart and brain studies, HTS filters for the communication industry, liquefaction of industrial gases, superconducting magnets for MRI systems, superconducting magnets for power generation and energy storage, and superconducting electronics.