New High-Temperature Thermoelectric Coolers from Laird Thermal Systems Cool Optical Sensors in Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)


High-temperature autonomous systems require active cooling to ensure proper, long life performance…

March 11, 2021 – Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) use a variety of imaging sensors, cameras and lasers to enhance vehicle safety and create better driving conditions. Most of these optical devices, including CMOS sensors and laser diodes, are heat sensitive and rely on high-resolution images for proper operation. Image quality can quickly deteriorate as the device temperatures rise above 60°C. In ADAS applications, where temperatures can reach as high as 85°C, passive cooling of laser and CMOS sensor using thermal greases and heat sinks is inadequate and can lead to pre-mature system failure and dangerous scenarios on the road. Active cooling using thermoelectrics, on the other hand, pumps heat away from sensitive electronics while the surrounding environment remains hot. The new HiTemp ETX series of thermoelectric coolers are specifically designed to operate in high-temperature environments experienced by ADAS and other autonomous systems applications.

Thermoelectric coolers are solid-state heat pump devices with no moving parts, fluids or gasses. Utilizing the Peltier Effect, thermoelectric coolers offer an efficient cooling system for a wide range of optical sensors used in ADAS, collision avoidance and other autonomous system technologies. With a cooling capacity from 7 to 322 Watts, the new HiTemp ETX Series thermoelectric cooler can effectively cool components in temperatures up to 120°C. While standard thermoelectric materials can reach temperature differentials up to 78°C with Th=50C, the HiTemp ETX thermoelectric cooler creates a maximum temperature differential (ΔT) of 83°C.

Serving applications with tight geometrical space constraints, the HiTemp ETX thermoelectric cooler has a compact footprint. The solid-state thermoelectric coolers can be integrated directly into the laser or CMOS sensor assembly to provide more effective spot cooling. A heat sink or other heat exchanger is used to rapidly dissipate heat away from sensitive components. The HiTemp ETX thermoelectric cooler’s design also prevents thermal shorting and protect sensors from moisture intrusion and outgassing.

“ADAS systems cannot operate without the continuous capture of high-resolution images. In autonomous vehicle applications, for example, as many as 12 imaging sensors are operating simultaneously to create a 360-degree view around the vehicle, so failure is not an option,” said Andrew Dereka, Product Director at Laird Thermal Systems. “Our new HiTemp ETX thermoelectric cooler is assembled with robust thermoelectric materials that boost performance and allows it to survive in high temperature environments where passive cooling fails.”

To meet a broad range of application requirements, the HiTemp ETX Series includes more than 50 models with a wide variety of heat pumping capacities, sizes and voltage inputs. 

More information on the HiTemp ETX Series can be found by visiting 
https://www.lairdthermal.com/products/thermoelectric-cooler-modules/peltier-hitemp-etx-series

Download our application note to learn more about thermoelectric cooling for autonomous systems.

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