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A newly designed, cryogenically cooled, thin Si crystal monochromator was tested at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) beamline BL3. It exhibited less than 1 arcsec of thermal strain up to a maximum incident power of 186 W and average power density of 521 W/mm2. Data were collected for the thin (0.7 mm) portion of the crystal and for the thick (≳25 mm) part. Rocking curves were measured as a function of incident power. With a low power beam, the Si(333) rocking curve at 30 keV for the thin and thick sections was ≪1 arcsec FWHM at room temperature. The rocking curve of the thin section increased to 2.0 arcsec when cooled to 78 K, while the thick part was unaffected by the reduction in temperature. The rocking curve of the thin section broadened to 2.5 arcsec FWHM and that of the thick section broadened to 1.7 arcsec at the highest incident power. The proven range of performance for this monochromator has been extended to the power density, but not the absorbed power, expected for the Advanced Photon Source (APS) undulator A in closed‐gap operation (first harmonic at 3.27 keV) at a storage‐ring current of 300 mA. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.