Miniature Embedded Thermoelectric Cooler
August 2007
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A miniature thin-film embedded thermoelectric cooler called eTEC addresses thermal management needs in electronics, photonics, and other industries. The component is manufactured using semiconductor processing techniques, and it provides high-power densities and microsecond response times in a footprint as small as 0.3 mm × 0.3 mm × 0.1 mm. The components offer seamless embedding of an active cooling and/or heating device in close proximity to the die of an integrated circuit. The structure optimizes thermal and electronic transport for the following: enhanced thermoelectric performance by operating as a miniature heat pump, rapid cooling or heating semiconductors and other electronics, thermal management of fiber-optic laser controls and integrated optoelectronics, or power generation by converting waste heat into electricity to increase efficiency in thermal batteries. The units are designed utilizing thin films, adding just 100 µm of height to a heat spreader while enabling unobtrusive integration close to the heat source. The millisecond response time rapidly cools or heats to maintain a precise temperature depending on the needs of the application. The device pumps a maximum heat flux of 150 W/cm2 with some designs delivering as much as 400 W/cm2, versus less than 10–20 W/cm2 for typical bulk TECs. The components can operate in a high COP (coefficient of performance) regime and still pump a reasonably high heat flux (50–100 W/cm2). Input power can be dynamically controlled to provide active cooling. The unit operates by the Peltier effect. Nextreme


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