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Thermal links for the implementation of an optical refrigerator

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11 Author(s)
Parker, John ; Department of Engineering and Department of Physics, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California 91711, USA ; Mar, David ; Von der Porten, Steven ; Hankinson, John
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Optical refrigeration has been demonstrated by several groups of researchers, but the cooling elements have not been thermally linked to realistic heat loads in ways that achieve the desired temperatures. The ideal thermal link will have minimal surface area, provide complete optical isolation for the load, and possess high thermal conductivity. We have designed thermal links that minimize the absorption of fluoresced photons by the heat load using multiple mirrors and geometric shapes including a hemisphere, a kinked waveguide, and a tapered waveguide. While total link performance is dependent on additional factors, we have observed net transmission of photons with the tapered link as low as 0.04%. Our optical tests have been performed with a surrogate source that operates at 625 nm and mimics the angular distribution of light emitted from the cooling element of the Los Alamos solid state optical refrigerator. We have confirmed the optical performance of our various link geometries with computer simulations using CODE V optical modeling software. In addition we have used the thermal modeling tool in COMSOL MULTIPHYSICS to investigate other heating factors that affect the thermal performance of the optical refrigerator. Assuming an ideal cooling element and a nonabsorptive dielectric trapping mirror, the three dominant heating factors are (1) absorption of fluoresced photons transmitted through the thermal link, (2) blackbody radiation from the surrounding environment, and (3) conductive heat transfer through mechanical supports. Modeling results show that a 1 cm3 load can be chilled to 107 K with a 100 W pump laser. We have used the simulated steady-state cooling temperatures of the heat load to compare link designs and system configurations.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:105 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan 2009

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