A patented microsystem Stirling cooler is under development with potential application to electronics, sensors, optical and radio frequency (RF) systems, microarrays, and other microsystems. The microsystem Stirling cooler is most suited to volume-limited applications that require cooling below the ambient or sink temperature. Primary components of the planar device include: two diaphragm actuators that replace the pistons found in traditional-scale Stirling machines; and a micro-regenerator that stores and releases thermal energy to the working gas during the Stirling cycle. The use of diaphragms eliminates frictional losses and bypass leakage concerns associated with pistons, while permitting reversal of the hot and cold sides of the device during operation to allow precise temperature control. Three candidate micro-regenerators were custom fabricated for initial evaluation: two constructed of porous ceramic, and one made of multiple layers of nickel and photoresist in an offset grating pattern. An additional regenerator was prepared with a random stainless steel fiber matrix commonly used in existing Stirling machines for comparison to the custom fabricated regenerators. The candidate regenerators were tested in a piezoelectric-actuated test apparatus designed to simulate the Stirling refrigeration cycle. In parallel with the regenerator testing, electrostatically-driven comb-drive diaphragm actuators for the prototype device have been designed for deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) fabrication.