Cryocooler Community Meets Virtually for ICC21

From December 7-10, more than 160 researchers, engineers, students and industry professionals gathered virtually on Zoom® to discuss and share information on all aspects of cryocoolers during the 21st International Cryocooler Conference, ICC21. Held every other year since 1980, ICC’s mission is to “enhance cryocooler development by promoting increased communication between worldwide researchers within both the cooler development community and the cryocooler user community.” While this year’s virtual format may have been different, the enthusiasm and engagement displayed by all attendees was “business as usual.”

Each day started with a social Zoom conference in which participants had half an hour to network, catch up with colleagues and share personal and professional updates. Following each morning’s social, conference chair Sastry Pamidi of Florida State University (FSU) held a brief introduction to welcome the plenary speakers of the day. Each day revolved around a central theme and included panel discussions after each plenary.

Monday’s theme was Aerospace Applications, Stirling and Pulse Tube (PT) Cooler Development. The day’s plenary was entitled “Overview of European Space Cryogenic Missions and Developments in 2020 (and Beyond)” hosted by Thierry Tirolien and cohosts Martin Linder and Moritz Branco of the European Space Agency (ESA)—European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC), in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. The Theme 1 panel discussion was hosted by Carl Kirkconnell of West Coast Solutions (CSA CSM), CSA board member. The day’s panel consisted of Jeff Olson, Lockheed Martin Space; Elaine Lim, Aerospace Corp; Tonny Benschop, Thales Cryogenics; Weibo Chen, NASA JPL; Ingo Ruehlich, INFRAROT-MODULE and Franklin Miller, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tuesday revolved around the theme of Brayton, Joule-Thomson (J-T) and low temperature cooler development. The day’s plenary, hosted by Michael Meyer, NASA Langley Research Center, CSA board member; Dean Johnson, NASA JPL and Peter Shirron, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), CSA president, was “Cryogenic Applications and Technology Investments: Enabling a Wide Range of NASA Missions.” Following another short break, the Theme 2 panel discussion, hosted by Kirkconnell, included Mark Zagarola, Creare (CSA CSM), CSA board member; David Glaister, Ball Aerospace; Steffen Grohman, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; Shirron; Sangkwon Jeong, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Vince Kotsubo of NIST.

Wednesday’s theme focused on PT and Stirling cooler components and modeling. The plenary of the day was, “Development of a Stirling-Type Pulse Tube Cooler—A Personal Experience,” by Professor Wei Dai of the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. Kirkconnell moderated the day’s panel of Mostafa Ghiaasiaan, Georgia Tech University; Julien Tanchon, Absolut System; Jean-Marc Duval, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Comission (CEA); Ray Radebaugh, NIST (retired); Jeff Cha, NASA JPL; Paul Bailey, University of Oxford; Ladan Amouzegar, Northrop Grumman and Ian McKinley of NASA JPL.

Thursday’s theme of commercial, lab cooler applications and integration technology featured a plenary entitled, “Actualizing the Abstract—How the Cryo Industry Takes Ideas and Provides Proven Technology for Diverse Applications,” by Parminder Banga, Xihuan Hao and Timothy Hanrahan, all of Cryomech, Inc. (CSA CSM). Kirkconnell then moderated Ted Conrad, FLIR Systems; Sonny Yi, Raytheon; Ravi Bains, Advanced Research Systems (CSA CSM); Wolfgang Stautner, GE Global Research; Chul Kim, Florida State University; Robert Hon, West Coast Solutions (CSA CSM), and Monica Guzik, NASA Glenn Research Center.

On Thursday Exceptional Service Awards were presented in recognition of two outstanding individuals in the field of cryocoolers. Awardees were Ron Ross, conference proceedings co-editor, webmaster of the event, chair of ICC8 and proceedings publisher for the past 26 years, and Ray Radebaugh, registered ICC agent and attendee of every ICC conference. The monetary award is being funded by Sumitomo Cryogenics of America (SHI) (CSA CSM); the company will continue that support for future conferences.

Individual ICC21 submitted papers have been posted as slides and videos on the ICC website for viewing by paid attendees up through the end of January 2021. A total of 67 papers are posted on the site, 40 of which have accompanying videos. In addition, the slides and videos of the four plenary talks and four panel discussions are also posted. As with past ICC conferences, formal written manuscripts covering the details of the author’s work will be published in the hard-cover proceedings book Cryocoolers 21, shipped to paid attendees approximately six months after the conference in the June 2021 timeframe.

Despite the switch to a virtual conference, this year’s ICC “was just as exciting and invigorating as ever. I’m leaving here feeling like I always do after the in-person event,” Jeff Olson, Lockheed Martin Space, commented of the event.
ICC21 commitee members are Pamidi, ICC21 chairman; Nancy Mclean and Chul Han Kim, both of FSU, local organizing committee; Kirkconnell, past chair ICC15, program chairman; Ross, webmaster and proceedings publisher, past chair ICC8, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (retired). Also on the ICC board are Jeff Raab, Northrup Grumman Aerospace Systems (retired), past chairman ICC17; Saul Miller, The Aerospace Corp. (retired), conference proceedings co-editors; Radebaugh, (NIST, retired), past chair ICC3, registered agent; Ryan Taylor, Ball Aerospace, treasurer, Pamidi, chairman ICC21; Zagarola, past chairman ICC20; Dean Johnson, NASA JPL, past chairman ICC19; Martin Crook, Rutherford Appleton Lab; Wei Dai; Lionel Duband, Commissariat a l’Engergie Atomique; Zhihua Gan, Zhejiang University; Miller, Shirron; Julien Tanchon, Absolut System SAS; and Marcel ter Brake, University of Twente, The Netherlands.