How Peltier Coolers Use the Peltier Effect to Heat and Cool

June 13, 2019

A Peltier cooler is a device that uses the Peltier effect to produce cooling or heating. The Peltier effect is defined as the emission or absorption of heat under an electrical bias at a junction between two conductors. When an electric current flows through the junction, heating or cooling can be achieved. In this way, the Peltier effect can be used to change the temperature of an object without the use of refrigerant or moving parts.

The Thermoelectric effect is the direct conversion of differences in temperature to electrical energy. It is basically the inverse of the Peltier effect. That said, thermoelectric coolers (TECs), Peltier coolers and thermoelectric devices all refer to these kinds of devices. A Peltier cooler can also be known as a Peltier refrigerator, or solid state refrigerator.

Peltier Cooler Explained

A Peltier cooler is built up of semiconductor materials sandwiched between two parallel plates. Passing electrical current through the device activates the Peltier effect. This creates a temperature gradient between the two plates. This temperature gradient is what allows objects to be heated or cooled.

Applications for TECs can include everything from humidifiers to solid state beverage coolers and refrigerators. In scientific applications, TECs can be found in satellites and other spacecraft, or even scientific equipment. In fiber optic communication networks, a Peltier cooler is used to cool laser packages such as TO cans, box TOSAs, pump lasers and detectors that are used to transmit and receive signals along countless miles of fiber optic cable.

Peltier Coolers from Phononic

Phononic designs and develops high performance TECs for use in demanding telecom and datacom applications. As compared to typical performance seen from alternatives, Phononic TECs provide up to 60% higher heat pumping density and 30% less energy usage. Our TECs deliver these performance advantages in a very thin form factor that can support pluggable transceivers. We offer customizable TEC solutions for the TOSAs used in many common types of transceivers, including SFP (small form-factor pluggable), QSFP (quad small form-factor pluggable), CFP (C form-factor pluggable) and OSFP (octal small format pluggable).