Optical Science and Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 5-6-2020


This dissertation describes the development of an all solid-state optical cryo-cooler. Crystals of 10% wt. ytterbium-doped yttrium lithium fluoride (Yb3+:YLF) are used to cool an infrared HgCdTe sensor payload to an absolute temperature below 135 K, equivalent to delta T equal 138 K below ambient. This record level of cooling is accomplished with a single stage, in a completely vibration-free environment, with a corresponding cooling power of 190 mW. This milestone is made possible by the design and fabrication of an undoped YLF thermal link that efficiently shields the payload with a non-right angle kink from intense anti-Stokes fluorescence while withstanding frequent thermal cycling. We also describe the design and implementation of novel MgF2 and sapphire thermal links that promise sub-100 K payload temperatures. This investigation considers thermal link materials that are CTE (Coefficients of Thermal Expansion) matched to YLF crystal and includes rigorous optical and thermal modeling with various geometries.

Degree Name

Optical Science and Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Optical Science and Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Mansoor Sheik-Bahae

Second Committee Member

Dr. Markus Hehlen

Third Committee Member

Dr. Arash Mafi

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Francesca Cavallo


Laser cooling, Optical Cryo-cooler, Thermal link, YLF

Document Type