Astrophysics: IRIG technologies used to cool DESI sensors
Categorie(s) : Innovation & Society, News, Research
Published : 3 February 2020
IRIG’s pulse tube cryocoolers were developed in the early 2000s and transferred to Thales in 2005. But the tiny devices are still making news! The 30 sensors that make up the DESI* spectroscope, which will create a giant map of the sky, is cooled by the cryocoolers. Five years from now DESI will have produced the most detailed 3D map of the universe ever, and scientists will be able to use the map to go back billions of years.
The cryocoolers were chosen because their cold areas do not have any moving parts, for maintenance-free reliability. IRIG is still making improvements to the cryocoolers so that they can be used for new, colder applications. The ESA, for example, has asked for a version suitable for cryogenic chains at temperatures close to absolute zero.