Thermal performance of a radiatively cooled system for quantum optomechanical experiments in space

Author(s): A. Pilan-Zanoni, J. Burkhardt, U. Johann, M. Aspelmeyer, R. Kaltenbaek, G. Hechenblaikner

Journal: Applied Thermal Engineering

Volume: 107

Page(s): 689–699

Year: 2016

DOI Number: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2016.06.116

Link: Link to publication


Passive cooling of scientific instruments via thermal radiation to deep space offers many advantages over active cooling in terms of mission cost, lifetime and the achievable quality of vacuum and microgravity. Motivated by the mission proposal MAQRO to test the foundations of quantum physics harnessing a deep-space environment, we investigate the performance of a radiatively cooled instrument, where the environment of a test particle in a quantum superposition has to be cooled to less than 20 K. We perform a heat-transfer analysis between the instrument components and a transfer-function analysis on thermal oscillations induced by the spacecraft interior and dissipative sources. The thermal behavior of the instrument is discussed for an orbit around a Lagrangian point and for a highly elliptical Earth orbit. Finally, we investigate possible design improvements. These include a mirror-based design of the imaging system on the optical bench (OB) and an extension of the heat shields.

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