Thermoelectric Coolers

Laird Thermal Systems TEMsSolid-state heat pumps have been in existence since the discovery of the Peltier effect in 1834. The devices became commercially available several decades ago with the development of advanced semiconductor thermocouple materials in combination with ceramics substrates. Thermoelectric coolers are solid-state heat pumps that require a heat exchanger to dissipate heat utilizing the Peltier Effect. During operation, DC current flows through the thermoelectric cooler to create heat transfer and a temperature differential across the ceramic substrates, causing one side of the thermoelectric cooler to be cold, while the other side is hot. A standard single-stage thermoelectric cooler can achieve temperature differentials of up to 70°C.

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The geometric footprint of a standard thermoelectric cooler can vary from 2 x 2 mm to 62 x 62 mm. The small size, combined with lightweight, makes thermoelectrics ideal for applications with tight geometric space constraints and low weight requirements. Traditional cooling technologies, such as conventional compressor-based systems, are typically much larger and heavier compared to thermoelectric technology.

Thermoelectric Coolers can also be used as a power generator by converting waste heat into usable output DC power. Thermoelectrics are ideal for applications that require active cooling below ambient and have cooling capacity requirements <600 Watts. A design engineer should consider thermoelectric coolers when the system design criteria includes such factors as precise temperature control, high reliability, compact geometry constraints, low weight and environmental friendly requirements.

Benefits of Thermoelectrics

Thermoelectric Coolers have several advantages over alternate cooling technologies:

  • Solid-state construction features no moving parts resulting in higher reliability.
  • Units can be mounted in any orientation.
  • Thermoelectric coolers can cool devices down to well below ambient. Colder temperatures can be achieved, down to minus 100°C by using a multistage thermoelectric cooler in a vacuum environment.
  • Thermoelectrics can heat and cool by simply reversing the polarity, which changes the direction of heat transfer. This allows temperature control to be very precise, where up to ±0.01°C can be maintained under steady-state conditions.
  • In heating mode, thermoelectric coolers are much more efficient than conventional resistant heaters because they generate heat from input power supplied plus additional heat generated by the heat pumping action.
  • Devices are environmentally friendly because they use no CFCs and electrical noise is minimal.
  • Thermoelectric coolers can be used as energy harvesters, turning waste heat into usable output DC power.

Product Portfolio

Laird Thermal Systems designs and manufactures thermoelectric coolers, which adhere to strict process control standards and pass/fail criteria, assuring our customers receive the best possible products. Our extensive standard product portfolio covers a wide range of cooling capacities, temperature differentials, input power requirements and geometric footprints. Standard finishing options are available to accommodate alternate lead lengths, lapping thickness tolerances, and moisture protective sealants. Standard pre-tinning and solder constructions are available to accommodate solder-able mounting of the thermoelectric cooler to the heat exchanger, or processing of the thermoelectric cooler through a reflow oven to solder onto an optoelectronic package.

Thermal Systems offers several thermoelectric cooler product families that can be classified by cooling capacity, temperature differential, form factor or thermal cycling capability. Reference perceptual map as a general guide as to where each product family fits with regards to these attributes.

Annular Series

The SH Series is an annular-style thermoelectric cooler. The hot and cold side ceramics have a circular hole in the center to accommodate light protrusion for optics, mechanical fastening or temperature probe. The RH Series is an annular thermoelectric cooler that is round in shape. The hot and cold side ceramics have a circular hole in the center to accommodate light protrusion for optics, mechanical fastening or temperature probe.

This product line is available in multiple configurations and geometric shapes. Assembled with Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and thermally conductive Aluminum Oxide ceramics, the SH Series is designed for higher current and larger heat-pumping applications. For all SH and RH Series thermoelectric coolers, wire is stranded, 114 mm (4.5 in.) long and PVC insulated.

CP Series

The Ceramic Plate (CP) Series of thermoelectric coolers is considered ‘the standard’ in the thermoelectric industry. This broad product line of high-performance and highly reliable thermoelectric cooler is available in numerous heat pumping capacities, geometric shapes, and input power ranges. Assembled with Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and thermally conductive Aluminum Oxide ceramics, the CP Series is designed for higher current and large heat-pumping applications. For all CP Series thermoelectric coolers, wire is stranded, 114 mm (4.5 in.) long and PVC insulated.

HiTemp ET Series

The HiTemp ET Series of thermoelectric coolers protects critical devices and assemblies in higher current and higher temperature environments. Offering active cooling for applications operating in temperatures ranging from 80 to 150° C, the HiTemp ET Series offers a cooling capacity of more than 338 watts in a compact form factor. These thermoelectric coolers deliver temperature stability to ensure peak operating performance in challenging environments including optical transceivers, LIDAR, DLP and CMOS applications. The HiTemp ET Series offers precise temperature control accuracy achieving ±0.01°C.

PowerCycling Series

The PowerCycling Series is a thermoelectric cooler designed for thermal cycling between multiple temperature set points. The PowerCycling Series is ideal for applications where fast temperature changes are required, such as medical and laboratory equipment. The module is specially constructed to reduce the amount of stress induced on the TE elements during operation. This product line has been tested to withstand more than 1M cycles without degradation in performance. The thermoelectric coolers are assembled using Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and thermally conductive Aluminum Oxide ceramics.

PolarTEC™ Series

The PolarTEC™ Series is a porch-style thermoelectric cooler. The hot side ceramic has an extended edge that allows for a strong lead attachment to accommodate the wiring of multiple thermoelectric coolers into an array. This product line is available in 4, 6 and 8 Amp configurations and is ideal for high volume production. Assembled with Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and thermally conductive Aluminum Oxide ceramics, the PolarTEC™ Series is designed for higher current and larger heat-pumping applications. For all PolarTEC™ Series thermoelectric coolers, wire is stranded, 152 mm (6.0 in.) long and PVC insulated.

OptoTEC™ Series

The OptoTEC™ Series is a miniature thermoelectric cooler. This product series is primarily used in applications to stabilize the temperature of sensitive optical components in telecom and photonics industries.

The OptoTEC™ product line is available in multiple configurations and surface finishing options. Assembled with Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and thermally conductive Aluminum Oxide ceramics, the OptoTEC™ Series is designed for lower current and lower heat-pumping applications. Custom designs are available to accommodate metallization, pretinning, ceramic patterns and solder posts, however MOQ applies. Internal solder construction is denoted in the prefix of the part description: 138°C (OT), 232°C (ET) and 271°C (HOT).  For all OptoTEC™ Series thermoelectric coolers, wire is solid, 57 mm (2.25 in.) long and un-insulated.

UltraTEC™Series

The UltraTECTM Series is a high heat flux density thermoelectric cooler. The module is assembled with a large number of semiconductor couples to achieve a higher heat pumping capacity than standard single stage thermoelectric coolers. This product line is available in multiple configurations and is ideal for applications that require higher cooling capacities with limited surface area. Assembled with Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and thermally conductive Aluminum Oxide ceramics, the UltraTECTM Series is designed for higher current and larger heat-pumping applications. For all UltraTECTM Series thermoelectric coolers, wire is stranded, 152 mm (6.0 in.) long or 200 mm (8.0 in.) and PVC insulated.

ZT Series

The ZT Series is a high performance thermoelectric cooler. The module is assembled with premium Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material that achieves a higher temperature differential than standard single stage thermoelectric coolers. This product line is available in multiple configurations and is ideal for applications that demand cold temperatures. Assembled with top grade Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and thermally conductive Aluminum Oxide ceramics, the ZT Series is designed for higher current and larger heat-pumping applications. For all ZT Series thermoelectric coolers, wire is stranded, 200 mm (8.0 in.) and PVC insulated.

Multistage Series

The Multistage (MS) Series of thermoelectric coolers are able to reach colder temperatures than single stage thermoelectric coolers. It offers the highest temperature differential (ΔT), up to 131°C. This product line is available in numerous temperature differentials, heat pumping capacities and geometric shapes. The Multistage Series is designed for higher current and lower heat-pumping applications. It is ideal for applications operating in a room temperature environment. Custom designs are available upon request, however MOQ applies.

 

Find the optimum Thermoelectric Cooler solution with the Thermal Wizard.