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DESIGN AND ANALYSIS OF A MESO-SCALE REFRIGERATOR

N. S. Ashraf , H. C. Carter III , K. Casey , L. C. Chow , S. Corban , M. K. Drost ,


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A. J. Gumm , Z. Hao , A. Q. Hasan , J. S. Kapat , L. Kramer , M. Newton ,
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K. B. Sundaram , J. Vaidya , C. C. Wong , K. Yerkes
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Microtechnology, Energy Division


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA 99352

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL 32816

Electrodynamics Associates, Inc.


Oviedo, FL 32765

Department of Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace


Engineering
University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL 32816-2450

Advanced Materials & Structures


Lockheed Martin Electronics & Missiles
Orlando, FL 32819-8907

Engineering Sciences Center


Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, NM 87185-0827

ABSTRACT
The preliminary design and analysis of a meso-scale refrigerator
is presented here. The device is to be designed out of layers of silicon
wafers bonded together and is to be fabricated through the techniques
of microelectronics. The intended application of the device is an
integrated heat removal system for electronics or photonic chips or
modules. The paper presents a functional decomposition of the entire
system, thermodynamic feasibility analysis, alternative configurations
for two of the functions: actuation and compression, and parametric
analysis for two alternative candidates for compressor actuation.
A set of reasonable design requirements is first formulated.
Overall function of the devices is decomposed into nine major subfunctions. Comparison of different alternatives for compression and
actuation suggests that electrostatic actuation integrated with
centrifugal compression is a viable option. Two different ways to
implement electrostatic actuation are considered in details: variable
capacitance motor and electrostatic induction motor. A set of design
relations and criteria needed to obtain the optimal design of each
motor is presented along with a discussion on relative effects of the
main design parameters.

Advanced Packaging and


Microelectronic Systems
Harris Corporation
Melbourne, FL 32902-9100
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Power Division, Propulsion Directorate


Air Force Research Laboratory
WPAFB, OH 45433

Photolithography, thin-film deposition and anisotropic etching, the


same techniques that have allowed electronic industry to pack more
and more memory and computing power into smaller and smaller
chips, can be used to make pumps, valves, sensors, heat exchangers
and chemical reactors at millimeter or smaller scales (Wegeng and
Drost, 1994, Ameel et al., 1996).
Miniaturization of thermal and chemical systems offers several
advantages over their large-scale counterparts. (1) Transport processes,
both thermal and chemical, rely on surface area of heat exchangers or
reactors. Hence, higher surface-to-volume ratio of a miniature system
helps to make a more compact system with a higher volumetric
transport coefficients. (2) Smaller size typically leads to better safety.
(3) Use of micro-fabrication technology is expected to provide better
cost efficiency. (4) Miniaturization makes newer engineering systems
possible. (5) Smaller modular size leads to more options in usage.
It is primarily the last two advantages that motivated the work
presented here and hence is illustrated further with the help of
examples. First, miniaturization of a refrigeration system makes
integrated heat removal system for electronic or opto-electronic
systems possible, without the need of external cooling systems, which
are typically many times larger in size compared to the electronics
being cooled. An integrated refrigeration system allows maintaining
those electronics at temperatures below the ambient temperature.
Without such cooling, devices such as high power electronics and
photonic arrays would not function or would function inefficiently in

INTRODUCTION
Advances in micro-fabrication capabilities over the last few
decades have ushered a new era in miniaturization of chemical,
environmental,
energy
and
other
engineering
systems.

Corresponding Author: L. C. Chow, (407) 823-3666; e-mail: chowlc@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu

performance (COP) of the system and will be higher. It is expected


that knowledge obtained through the current design process will allow
us to design a system with much more aggressive cooling
characteristics in the future.

high-temperature environments such as adjacent to the engine of a


vehicle, cockpit of an airplane, or in the desert. In particular, some
opto-electronic systems such as an array of photonic Transmit/Receive
modules require precise temperature uniformity among all members of
the array, and hence a cooling system based on phase change is
necessary. Second, miniaturization and use of micro-fabrication leads
to a cooling system that can be integrated into substrates of electronic
or photonic modules and are inexpensively mass reproducible.
Miniaturization of energy systems may, however, come at a price.
The following example can be used to illustrate the point. Let us
consider a heat exchanger duct with a flow through it. If this duct is
miniaturized by a factor of N with N-fold reduction in each linear
dimension, N3 of such miniature ducts can occupy the same volume as
the original duct. In the miniaturized case, if Reynolds number of flow
through each duct is kept to be same as before so that flow
characteristics do not change, overall heat transfer rate is increased by
a factor of N2, pressure drop is increased by a factor of N2 and total
pumping power requirement is increased by a factor of N4, under
identical thermal conditions and same overall volume. One may argue
that increased supply pressure and pumping power requirement may
not be worth the extra heat transfer, and hence careful optimization of
the extent of miniaturization is needed on a case-by-case basis.
This paper concentrates on the design of a meso-scale refrigerator
with overall linear dimensions of a few centimeters. Thus, this
refrigerator is smaller than a conventional system by at least an order
of magnitude, and larger than the newly proposed micro-scale systems
by a few orders of magnitude. Unlike conventional systems, the
proposed refrigerator is designed in such a way that microelectronics
fabrication techniques can be used, so that such systems can be mass
reproduced inexpensively in the future.

THERMODYNAMIC ANALYSIS
There are several thermodynamic cycles that can be used for
refrigeration. Some of the possible alternatives are vapor compression
cycle, vapor absorption cycle, reverse Stirling cycle and reverse
Brayton cycle (Moran and Shapiro, 1992). The first two cycles involve
phase change whereas the last two do not. Hence, maintaining a
constant temperature at the evaporator would require a more active
control system for reverse Brayton or reverse Stirling cycle. For this
reason, in this first design iteration, these two cycles are not
considered further.
Vapor compression and vapor absorption cycles are quite similar
to each other. They both involve liquid-vapor phase transition,
evaporation, condensation and throttling. The primary difference is
that vapor compression cycle uses a compressor to convert lowpressure, low-temperature vapor from the evaporator into high
pressure and high temperature, superheated vapor. In a vapor
absorption cycle, vapor from evaporator is absorbed by another
substance, called an absorbent, to form a liquid solution, which is then
pumped to the higher pressure requiring much less work compared to
the compressor of the vapor compression cycle. However, at the
higher pressure the vapor has to be retrieved from the liquid solution,
and this is typically done by providing heat from a relatively hightemperature heat source, such as natural gas or similar fuel, or solar or
geothermal energy. This last feature of a vapor absorption cycle makes
this cycle quite unsuitable for integrated cooling systems for
electronics or photonics, even though this cycle requires less
mechanical work input. For this reason, only vapor compression cycle
is considered is this design process. Figure 1 presents a schematic
layout of a typical vapor compression system along with the associated
thermodynamic states on a T-s diagram.
It should be noted that designs of different components of the
overall system are linked together. However, in order to start
parametric design for each component, several ad hoc assumptions are
needed regarding performance parameters of other components. For
example, if a centrifugal compressor is used for compression, then
isentropic efficiency of the compressor will determine the mechanical
power output required out of the motor, and hence a reasonable value
has to be assumed first for the compressor in order to start design of
the motor. Eventually, these performance parameters have to be
calculated and verified when overall design is complete.
The following ad-hoc assumptions are made in subsequent
thermodynamic analysis.
No pressure drop in evaporator or condenser.
A minimum of 15oC temperature difference between
ambient air and condenser fluid. (This will require
forced convection with an integrated air circulation
system and the heat transfer surface to be enhanced
with microstructures.)
Compressible and expansion processes are adiabatic.
Compressor has isentropic efficiency of 78%.
Vapor at evaporator outlet is saturated and liquid at
condenser outlet is saturated.

DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS
The primary application for which the proposed demonstration
unit is to be designed and fabricated is for cooling of electronics under
hot ambient conditions where cooling without refrigeration is not
possible. For this purpose, the following thermal parameters were
decided.
Evaporating fluid temperature (Te):
12oC (should be held
constant)
Ambient temperature (Ta):
45oC
Cooling load (Qc):
32 W
Refrigerant:
R134a
It should be noted that the temperature of items to be cooled will
be higher than Te and fluid temperature in condenser will be higher
than Ta. R134a is selected as the refrigerant because it is one of the
most prevalent environment-friendly refrigerants.
Since the refrigerator is intended to be fabricated out of several
layers of silicon wafers and since 3 inch diameter wafers are the most
commonly available, the overall system diameter is limited to this size
in this first design iteration.
Outside diameter (D):
75 mm
This size poses a quite modest thermal load of only 0.73 W/cm2
on the evaporator surface. However, since a refrigeration system is
used, this amount of heat can be removed even when the ambient is at
a higher temperature than the desired cooled surface temperature. Heat
removal rate on the condenser rate depends on the coefficient of

Condenser

characteristics of the actuator have to match with those of the


compressor, the actuator must be integrated with the drive control
circuit so that only regular electrical power input is needed for
actuation. (3) Levitation and bearing: Levitation and/or bearing
surfaces are needed in order to avoid excessive friction between
stationary and moving elements. The amount of levitation forces
needed to minimize the need for any bearing and/or the type and
amount of force the bearing(s) must withstand may also depend on the
design of compressor and actuator. (4) Evaporation: Evaporator must
avoid local dry-out or incomplete evaporation. Liquid must be kept in
contact with the hot surface through capillary force. Liquid droplets at
the outlet must be avoided. (5) Condensation: Condensing liquid must
be removed readily from the cold surface to avoid performance
degradation. The working fluid must be fully condensed by the
condenser outlet. (6) Expansion: Expansion valve must be able to
throttle the liquid to a two-phase mixture at the evaporator pressure.
As the mass flow rate is small, a small throttle opening is needed. (7)
Sensors and Control: The system must be able to respond
autonomously to any dynamic fluctuations in thermal load or external
thermal conditions. There needs to be integrated sensors for
continuous monitoring of the thermodynamic cycle parameters and,
accordingly, operating parameters may have to be adjusted. (8)
External Heat Removal: External forced convection may be needed to
remove heat from the condenser. This feature will require an
integrated air circulation blower and transport augmenting features on
the other side of the condensation surface. (9) Thermal Insulation:
Heat leakage from condenser to compressor will increase compression
work needed and hence should be minimized. A thermal insulation
layer that will isolate the condenser and yet allow flow to/from the
condenser is needed. Figure 2 presents a functional decomposition of
the entire system. Possible design alternatives for actuation and
compression functions are also presented in this figure.

Expansion
Compressor

Valve

Evaporator

(a) Schematic layout

Temperature (T)

2
3

1
4

Specific entropy (s)

(b) T-s diagram


Figure 1. A vapor compression cycle

Vapor Compression Refrigerator

With these assumptions, the following parameters were obtained


for this vapor compression system.
Mass flow rate:
2.71 X 10-4 kg/s
Compressor power required:
9.57 W
Compressor pressure ratio:
3.80
Coefficient of performance:
3.34

Actuation Sensing
Compression
Thermal Expansion
insulation
& Control
Evaporation
External
Electromagnetic Levitation
heat
Condensation
Piezo-electric
removal
Shape memory
Centrifugal
Electrostatic
Reciprocating
-VCM
Screw-type
-EIM
Sliding vane
-Linear Comb
Drive

CONCEPTUAL DESIGN OF A MESO-SCALE VAPOR


COMPRESSION SYSTEM
(a) Functional decomposition
A preliminary functional decomposition of the system provides a
list of nine functions. Here these functions are listed along with short
descriptions of challenges associated with those functions. (1)
Compression: Compressor is the key component of the system. Design
of this compressor is particularly challenging because of moderate
pressure rise, very small mass flow rate and small dimensions. (2)
Actuation: Actuation can be either linear or rotary depending on the
need of the compressor. The actuator should be integrated with the
compressor in order to avoid gears or linkages. Since the load-torque

Figure 2. Functional decomposition of a meso-scale vapor


compression refrigerator and partial search for alternative
configurations
(b) Alternative Configurations for Actuation
Actuation needed to drive the compressor is one of the key
obstacles for this design and is the focus of this paper. Actuation may
be provided by one of several physical principles (Koeneman et. al,

high efficiency, they are quite difficult, if not impossible, to


manufacture by micro-fabrication techniques. In a sliding vane
compressor, the rotor is located eccentric with respect to a round
casing. Multiple spring-loaded vanes come out of the rotor, which
can move in and out relative to the rotor. As the eccentric rotor rotates,
these vanes compress the gas or vapor trapped in between them. These
machines require considerable maintenance, and hence may not be
suitable for this application. Also, micro-fabrication of these
compressors is relatively difficult. Reciprocating compressors contain
piston-cylinder arrangement as in internal combustion engines. They
have highest efficiency among all alternatives mentioned here. The
piston of a reciprocating compressor typically produces a large
unbalanced force, and hence this type of machines requires continuous
maintenance. A centrifugal compressor is most amenable to microfabrication. At this time, only centrifugal compressors are given
consideration. An overall schematic of the whole system is presented
in Fig. 3, based on the above discussion and selections.
Even though rest of the paper concentrates on details of different
actuation units, a few ad hoc assumptions about a centrifugal
compressor are provided here, which are needed for design
calculations for the motor.
Impeller outside diameter: 1.2 cm (same as the rotor
diameter of the motor)
Loading coefficient:
0.56
The following results are then obtained from these assumptions
(Wilson, 1998, Japikse, 1996).
Impeller tip speed:
251 m/s
Rotational speed:
399590 rev/minute

1997): (1) electrostatic forces, (2) electromagnetic forces, (3) piezoelectric effect, and (4) shape memory effect.
Since compression of a vapor or a gas requires a relatively large
amount of mechanical power (within a small volume), such an
actuation unit must be able to provide a large torque and/or large speed
of actuation. For this reason, piezo-electric actuation (Inaba et. al,
1987) and SMA (shape memory alloy) based actuation (Kuribayashi,
1989) do not appear to be suitable for this meso-scale actuation unit,
and hence are not considered further. Moreover, it will be difficult to
incorporate SMA-based actuation within silicon-layer architecture.
Electromagnetic forces do not scale well as the length scale is
reduced, whereas electrostatic forces scale well (Trimmer and Gabriel,
1987). Moreover, an electromagnetic motor requires permanent and/or
electro-magnets, which makes the design complicated. For this reason,
attention is given to electrostatic actuation only at this time.
(c) Alternative Configurations for Compression
Since compression and actuation actions are to be integrated
together, the design for one will also affect the design for the other. In
practice, compression of a vapor or gas is typically achieved by one of
several different methods (Pichot, 1986): (1) centrifugal compressor,
(2) reciprocating compressor, (3) screw-type compressor, and (4)
sliding vane compressor.
The last three types are of the positive displacement type, which
requires a fixed torque that is independent of speed. The main
component in a screw-type compressor is a cylindrical element with
multiple helical grooves that run around the curved cylindrical surface
for the full length of the cylinder. Even though these machines have

LP & LT vapor
liquid mixture

Substrate
with integrated
evaporator

Compressor rotor
Compressor diffuser

Thermal
insulation
layer

Air gap
Fan for cooling air
with integrated
drive

Cooling
air inlet
Condenser layer with
integrated cooling air
and refrigerant ducts

Motor stator
Motor
rotor
Levitation
HP & HT
and bearing
vapor

Figure 3. Overall System Schematic

Cooling
air
outlet
Expansion
valve

PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS FOR AN ELECTROSTATIC


ACTUATION UNIT
There are several ways by which electrostatic actuation can be
implemented: (1) variable capacitance motor (VCM), (2) electrostatic
induction motor (EIM), and (3) linear comb drive. The first two
provide rotary actuation while the last one provides linear motion.
Since the actuation unit will be integrated with the compression unit in
the overall system, the type of actuation must match with the way gas
compression is achieved. For example, it is easier to integrate a rotary
actuator (such as VCM or EIM) with a rotary compressor (such as a
centrifugal or a screw-type compressor), where as a linear actuation
unit can be integrated easier with a reciprocating compressor. Further
discussion in this paper will involve only VCM or EIM. Other possible
combinations of compression and actuation units are being looked at
and will be reported in the future.
Conceptual design of this component calls for a pancake-shaped
motor with the following tentative design parameters.
Diameter, d:
1.2 cm
RPM, N:
400,000
Output mechanical power, Pm:
9.6 W
As discussed earlier, only two alternatives will be explored
further: VCM and EIM.

process of this rotation when the next set of rotor pads approach the
stator pads, the excitation to the stator pads is switched on again, as
shown in the plot of V vs t in Fig. 4. Thus, rotation and stator
excitation are synchronized in this type of actuation.
The dynamics of this motor can be expressed in terms of the
capacitance between a rotor pad and a stator pad, which is a linear
function of the overlap area between those two pads. Since the amount
of overlap varies with rotation, so does the stator-rotor capacitance.
Typically separation between two neighboring pads is same as the
width of any rotor pad. The stator-rotor capacitance has a saw-tooth
waveform as shown in Fig. 4.
From energy balance of this motor, total electrical power input
must be equal to the sum of mechanical power output and the rate of
increase of potential energy stored in the stator-rotor capacitance. This
energy balance (Ashraf, 1999) provides

1
dC
T = V 2
2
dt

where T is the torque generated and is the rotational speed (in


rad/s). Thus, in order to achieve positive torque, the applied excitation
should be zero whenever mutual overlap, and hence stator-rotor
capacitance, decreases with time. A simple way to implement that
requirement is to have the excitation as shown in Fig. 4. Here,
excitation is kept constant at Vo when C is increasing and 0 when C
is decreasing. As rotational speed is constant under steady state
operation, the temporal variation of torque T is as shown in Fig. 4. In a
more practical, multi-phase motor, the torque waveform can be more
uniform.
An important drawback of the simple motor shown in Fig. 4, is
that the motor will not be able to start on its own if all pads are
perfectly aligned. Since it is important to have self-starting actuation
for the compressor, there should be different number of pads between
stator and rotor such that pads are not perfectly aligned at any
rotational position of the rotor.

(a) Variable Capacitance Motor


A variable capacitance motor is a synchronous motor. With the
help of planar lithography, discrete conducting metal pads (or poles)
are deposited on rotor and stator wafers. Schematic of a simple VCM
is shown in Fig. 4, where both the rotor and the stator have two pads
each. When two conducting plates with small separation in between
are slightly displaced with respect to each other, the resultant electroquasistatic force has a component parallel to the surface of the plates,
which subsequently tends to realign the plates. This force is the motive
force for VCM. Once the rotor rotates and the rotor pads get aligned
with the stator pads, the excitation to the stator pads should be
switched off, so that rotor continues to rotate under inertia. In the

t
T

Stator pad

Rotor pad
Rotor

(1)

(Note: Cross-hatch indicates overlap


between rotor and stator pads)

Stator

Figure 4. Schematic of a Simple Variable Capacitance Motor

The average power produced by such a motor can be calculated


(Ashraf, 1999) as

M r 2 (R o2 R i2 )
P = r o
Vo
16
d

4.

(2)

A complete parametric design optimization is currently


underway. A sample calculation based on Ms = 150, Mr = 100, Vo
= 620V, Ri = 3mm, n = 3 and d = 2.5m shows (Ashraf,
1999) that an average mechanical power output of 9.6 W could be
obtained and the associated excitation frequency would be 2 MHz. In
these calculations, the gap is taken to be have a dielectric constant of
1.0. This constant should have been calculated at the compressor rotor
exit condition, which is not known at this stage. It should be noted that
the dielectric constant of R134a is 1.024 at 309 K and 2.05 bar (Meyer
and Morrison, 1991). This constant increases with pressure and
decreases with temperature.

and the average torque produced is

T = r o

M r 2 R o2 R i2
Vo
16
d

(3)

where
= (2N / 60) = rotational angular speed,
r = dielectric constant for gap,
o = 8.85 x 10-12 F / m,
d = gap thickness,
Mr = number of rotor pads,
Ri = inner radius of rotor or stator pads, and
Ro = outer radius of rotor or stator pads

(b) Electrostatic Induction Motor


In this type of motor, the compressor-integrated-rotor has an
annular, electrically conducting disk having uniform conductivity.
The stator, which is co-axially located with the rotor (Fig. 5), consists
of conductive pads for providing azimuthally-traveling electric
potential wave. The revolving potential wave is produced by applying
a three-phase voltage to the pads.

It should be noted that excitation frequency of the input electrical


power is given by

f e = nM s

Requirement of torque uniformity with time will provide a lower


limit on the number of phases.

Discrete
stator pads

(4)

where
fe = excitation frequency in Hz,
Ms = number of stator pads, and
n = number of phases.

Continuous rotor pad


Rotor
Stator

Even though number of phases increases the excitation frequency


needed, a larger number of phases makes the temporal variation of the
output torque more uniform and is desirable. In general, when the total
number of rotor pads is kept constant, torque and power scales as the
second power of the size. Also, if the value for M r is dictated by the
smallest feature that can be achieved by lithography, then M r is
proportional to the overall size and in that case torque and power
scales as the third power of the overall size. In the present design,
outside diameter has been specified as a design requirement, and
cannot be changed. If, however, the size (i.e. outer diameter) is
allowed in the future to become a design variable to be optimized, this
scaling will become useful.
There are six parameters that are available for design
optimization:
Mr, Ms, Vo, Ri, d, and n.

Figure 5. Layout of an Electrostatic Induction Motor


The EIM uses charge-relaxation to establish its rotor charge
distribution. Free electric image charges are induced on the rotor
surface as the potential wave travels around the stator. These image
charges travel in synchronism with the revolving potential wave, but
lag behind due to charge relaxation in the rotor and stator-rotor gap.
The resulting azimuthal displacement between the potential wave and
the image charges gives rise to a motive torque acting on the rotor.
For ease of analyzing the aspects of electromechanical behavior
of the EIM, a circuit model has been developed. By considering the
duality rules from the magnetic induction machines, the circuit model
shown in Fig. 6 is proposed. This circuit considers all possible effects
within the EIM, and thus is useful for determining the energy stored in
the motor, power dissipated in the rotor material and in the stator pads,
and the motive torque produced.

It should be noted that rotational frequency is already specified


by compressor design. The constraints on these parameters are:
1. Minimum feature size will dictate a lower limit for Ri and an
upper limit for Mr and Ms.
2. Maximum dielectric breakdown voltage will provide an upper
limit for Vo / d.
3. Capability of excitation power supply will dictate upper limits for
Ms, n (since nMs = 2fe / ) and Vo.
Figure 6. Single-phase circuit diagram of an EIM

induction motors and brushless DC motors. These devices are


programmable for variable, high frequency outputs and control loop
compensation. The controller generates three-phase, pulse-width
modulated (PWM) timing control outputs to drive 3 pairs of high and
low-side IGBTs or FETs in the firing circuit. The firing circuit
converts the logic based PWM signals into high frequency, high
voltage, three-phase AC sinusoids that are necessary for proper
excitation of the stator and generation of the motor torque. Current
and voltage feedback can be employed to ensure stability of the loop if
open-loop operation of the EIM proves difficult.
The control system for a variable capacitance motor will also
employ a programmable logic device to generate a set of sequential
logic signals that will control a firing circuit. The VCM, unlike its AC
induction motor counterpart, doesnt need a sinusoid for excitation. A
simple voltage pulse, generated by bi-directional firing of FET current
sources, will suffice. The timing of the pulses will occur such that one
phase, with its associated stator poles, is excited so that a motive force
is generated on the unaligned rotor poles. For steady, predictable load
with known inertia and load torque, it should be possible to control
this machine without position feedback. However, this design will
include a position feedback mechanism.
For the control of both of these motors, start-up sequencing will
involve ramping the frequency to attain maximum starting torque,
based on rotor inertia and mechanical loading models of the motor.

Here,
Gs = Stator conductance per phase
Cs = Stator self-capacitance per phase
Cm = Mutual capacitance between the stator and the rotor per
phase
Gr = Rotor conductance per phase
s = Relative velocity of the stator potential wave and the
rotor motion, the slip.
Power delivered across the stator-rotor gap is dissipated in the
conductance Gr/s, which can be separated into two conductances as
shown in Fig. 6. The power dissipated in the conductance (1-s)Gr/s is
equivalent to the electrical power converted to the mechanical power.
Gs and Gr account for the power dissipated in the stator and in the
rotor respectively. All of the above circuit elements can be calculated
from the dimensions and material-properties of the motor. This model
has been used to study EIM performance and its dependencies on
different design parameters.
The output power is quite sensitive to the rotor conductivity. Very
low rotor-conductivity is desirable in the EIM. Conductivity of silicon
is strongly dependent on the deposition process, and is therefore hard
to control, particularly when low conductivities are desired. There are
several ways to reduce the effects of conductivity control. Increasing
the supply frequency can compensate for an increase in conductivity,
but the number of poles in the stator in that case needs to be increased.
Increasing the supply frequency is also limited by the capability of the
control circuitry. The gap between the stator and rotor should be as
small as possible to have high mutual capacitance allowing maximum
power-flow from the stator to the rotor. However, the electric field in
this short gap must be sustained by the chosen refrigerant. The
spinning stability of the rotor needs to be considered also.

CONCLUSION
This paper has explored the design of a meso-scale refrigerator to
be fabricated from layers of silicon wafers through techniques of
microelectronics fabrication. This miniature refrigerator is to be
designed for an application such as an integrated heat removal unit for
electronic or photonic modules. Admittedly, a robust design of the
integrated units of the refrigerator presents a considerable challenge to
all the disciplines involved.
A set of design requirements has been generated based on the
intended application. With consideration for the difficulty in design
and fabrication, the design objectives or requirements have been kept
quite modest in the first design iteration. A thermodynamic analysis
has performed and provided key design parameters for key
components.
Based on a functional decomposition, there are nine major
functions, each of which will provide a challenging design. Only two
of the functions, namely compression and actuation, are considered in
more details in this paper. For theses two functions, different
alternative configurations are compared. Based on this comparison,
electrostatic rotary actuation integrated to a centrifugal compressor is
selected as the most promising candidate and as the first configuration
to be looked at.
Two alternative electrostatic actuation schemes have been
considered for more detailed parametric analysis: VCM (variable
capacitance motor) and EIM (electrostatic induction motor). Design
relations and criteria of both alternatives have been presented. Based
on preliminary calculations, EIM cannot produce the requisite amount
of power at the design speed within the boundaries of design
limitations. Hence, VCM is the only option available for a rotary
electrostatic actuation unit, even though design and fabrication of a
VCM is more complicated. Possible control methodology for electric
excitation is also discussed.

(c) Comparison between the two designs


Based on preliminary calculations, EIM is not able to provide the
required amount of power at design speed. Hence, VCM becomes the
only alternative for rotary electrostatic drive for this application.
However, VCM design suffers from several important, but not
insurmountable, disadvantages, which are listed below. In the future, if
EIM design can become a possible candidate for this application, these
disadvantages for VCM have to be considered during design
evaluation.
First, micro-fabrication is more difficult for VCM. Second, stator
excitation has to be synchronized with rotor position as discussed
earlier, so that no negative torque is generated. This characteristic of
VCM demands that there should be position feedback from the rotor.
A design for this position feedback is currently being evaluated and
will be reported in the future. Third, there will be side forces
developed in the VCM design (Bart and Lang, 1989), and hence
special attention needed in design for levitation and bearing function.
(d) Motor Control
The general approach to the design of the motor control circuitry
for an electrostatic motor is discussed below for both the Electrostatic
Induction Motor (EIM) and the Variable Capacitance Motor (VCM).
Many IC manufacturers such as Analog Devices and Texas
Instruments produce (Digital Signal Processing) DSP motor control
microprocessors that are optimized for the control of three-phase AC

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