Abstract The aim of the paper is to present the performance characteristics of a Stirling refrigeration cycle in micro/nano scale, in which the working substance of cycle is an ideal Maxwellian gas. Due to the quantum boundary effect on the gas particles confined in the finite domain, the cycle no longer possesses the condition of perfect regeneration. The inherent regenerative losses, the refrigeration heat and coefficient of performance (COP) of the cycle are derived. It is found that, for the micro/nano scaled Stirling refrigeration cycle devices, the refrigeration heat and COP of cycle all depend on the surface area of the system (boundary of cycle) besides the temperature of the heat reservoirs, the volume of system and other parameters, while for the macro scaled refrigeration cycle devices, the refrigeration heat and COP of cycle are independent of the surface area of the system. Variations of the refrigeration heat ratio r R and the COP ratio r ε with the temperature ratio τ and volume ratio r V for the different surface area ratio r A are examined, which reveals the influence of the boundary of cycle on the performance of a micro/nano scaled Stirling refrigeration cycle. The results are useful for designing of a micro/nano scaled Stirling cycle device and may conduce to confirming experimentally the quantum boundary effect in the micro/nano scaled devices.