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List of KIMM TechnologiesEnergy Systems Research Division

Joule–Thomson Cryocooler

Division Innovative Energy Machinery Research Division > Department of Thermal Energy Solutions
Name Dr. Yong-Ju Hong
Department Department of Energy Conversion Systems
Tel +82 - 42 - 868 - 7366
E-mail yjhong@kimm.re.kr
Attachment Download 054_Joule_Thomson_Cryocooler.pdf (0.8 KB)

Cooling technology to create and maintain thermal environment
below extremely low temperature (120 K, -153℃)

Technology using expansion of gas compressed with several
hundred atmospheric pressure to cool down to an extremely low
temperature within a few seconds


Client / Market

  • Rapid cooling of infrared detector, small analytical instrument, cryosurgery, gas liquefaction


Necessity of this Technology

  • Cryogenic cooling is crucial for a cooling type detector to achieve high resolution
    and clear image.
  • For cryosurgery using extremely low temperature require safe and temperaturecontrolled
    cooling technology.
  • Joule-Thomson cooling technology is a cooling technology that is smaller than
    other cryocoolers like Stirling cooler, pulse tube cooler, and GM cooler, can be
    operated under lower vibration level and enables rapid cooling.


Technical Differentiation

  • Joule-Thomson cooling technology uses the cooling effect (Joule-Thomson effect)
    that occurs through sudden expansion of high-pressure gas that passes through
    a fine nozzle and amplifies the cooling effect through the high-efficiency heat
    exchanger to generate cryogen for cooling.
  • In cooling of infrared detector, the Stirling or pulse tube cryocooler requires a
    few minute, but Joule-Thomson cooler uses a high flow rate of high pressure
    compressed gas to cool down to a cryogenic temperature in a few seconds. Its
    structure is relatively simpler and is easy to be miniaturized.
  • A series of development process is needed for development of Joule-Thomson
    cooler including cooling cycle design, design and production technologies for
    components like heat exchanger, nozzle and flow control apparatus, and cooling
    function performance test.
  • To secure sufficient cooling and long operating time while achieving rapid cooling,
    it is necessary to obtain optimal design technologies for small/high-efficiency heat
    exchanger, nozzle and flow control apparatus.
  • For performance assessment of Joule-Thomson cooler, vacuum and cryogenic
    environment need to be established, and the thermal/structure design and
    operation technology of performance evaluation apparatus needs to be secured.

Excellence of Technology

  • Equipped with technology for the entire development process for Joule-Thomson
    cooler–cooling cycle design, design of components (heat exchanger, nozzle, flow
    control apparatus), and cooling performance assessment (In-house design program
    for Joule-Thomson cooler design/cycle analysis/heat exchange and nozzle design
  • Performance analysis technologies for Joule-Thomson cooler in steady and
    transient state
  • Thermodynamic cycle analysis technologies for single (nitrogen, argon) and mixed
  • Completed verification of the technology through rapid cooling Joule-Thomson
    cooler development and performance test



  • Joule-Thomson Cooler Design (Program JTGUI: Registration No. 2011-01-123-
    005467, JTDESIGN2 : Registration No. 2011-01-123-005453)
  • Joule-Thomson Cooler Cycle Analysis (Program JTR-CD (Joule Thomson
    Refrigerator-Cool Down) : Registration No. 08-01-121- 003011, JTC2ST : Registration
    No. 2010-01-121-004322)
  • Nozzle, Flow Control Apparatus Design (Program NzFlow : Registration No. 2009-
    01-121-005649, TdBellows : Registration No. 2011-01-123-004743)
  • Joule-Thomson Cooler Thermal Load Analysis (Program ColdFinger : Registration
    No. 2009-01-121-001780)
  • Joule-Thomson cooler’s cooling performance assessment technology