Medical laser is commonly used in hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and physician offices. Medical lasers are used in a broad range of surgeries, such as cosmetic, arthroscopic and general surgery. It combines cutting, ablation, and coagulation properties for precise, virtually bloodless procedures; minimizing thermal damage to the surrounding tissue and increasing recovery time. The heat of the laser also destroys any microbiological bodies that could lead to infection. Laser systems also generate waste heat, and require sophisticated cooling systems to remove this heat and keep the laser stable and operating at peak performance during operation. Due to size constraints, power consumption requirements, and noise restrictions thermal management can be challenging.
Thermoelectric modules (TEMs) offer a solid-state heat pump solution to dissipate heat generated by a medical laser, which is in range 15~300 Watts. TEMs precisely maintain the temperature of the laser system at 20±0.5°C, while ambient temp may fluctuate from 20~30°C.
A single-stage TEM can achieve temperature differentials of up to 70°C and transfer heat at a rate of up to 150 watts. Their geometry can vary from 2x2 mm to 62x62 mm and compared to resistant heaters, they are much more efficient. Their compact size enable them to fit into tight geometric space constraints.
Thermoelectrics provide good temperature stabilization to maintain peak performance of a medical laser and offer solid-state operation, low maintenance, and long service life. Thermoelectrics also make an excellent thermal management solution due to compact size no vibration and low total cost of ownership. This cannot be accomplished by any other means without a complex heating and cooling system.
By wiring TEMs into an array, they can cool up to -100°C (6-stage) and pump up to 15 watts per square centimeter of heat. To learn more about the benefits of thermoelectrics in medical lasers, read our application note Thermoelectric Modules and Assemblies for Medical Laser Cooling Applications