How Thermoelectric Cooling Uses the Peltier Effect

June 14, 2019

Thermoelectric cooling is achieved by using the Peltier effect. The Peltier effect refers to the thermoelectric phenomenon of the transfer of heat energy that occurs between two materials when an electric current passes through. This phenomenon results in the addition or removal of heat. The heat transfer is both proportional to the current as well as reversible. The phenomenon was discovered in 1834 by John Peltier. 

The Peltier effect is used in heat pumps, which remove heat (although they can also add heat) using a controlled, reversible solid state device (meaning there are no mechanical parts). Solid State heat pumps using the Peltier effect will effectively transfer heat from one side of the device to the other. 

Other common names for these types of devices include Peltier device, solid state refrigerator, Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC), and Peltier heat pump. The most common application of these devices is cooling with heat removal requirements of anywhere from several thousand watts down to milliwatts. 

Thermoelectric Cooling for Pump Lasers, thermal cooling, thermoelectric effect, peltier chip

Peltier Effect & Thermoelectric Coolers (TECs)

TECs are solid state Peltier devices that, once a DC current is applied, will transfer heat from one side to the other. This means that one side of the device will produce cold while the other side produces heat. The heated side is often attached to a heat sink so that the device can be used for cooling.

Consumer product applications for TECs range from portable coolers to humidifiers, beverage coolers, and refrigerators. In the scientific realm, TECs are used in satellites, spacecraft, computer components (such as CPU coolers), to cool the lasers used in fiber optic communication networks, and more.

Phononic and Peltier TECs

Phononic designs and develops innovative, high performance TECs for telecom and datacom applications. Compared to typical performance, our TECs deliver up to 60% higher heat pumping density and 30% lower energy consumption in a very thin form factor to support pluggable transceivers. Customizable TEC solutions are available for all common transceiver types: TOSA, SFP, QSFP, and OSFP.