Not your Father’s Thermoelectric Devices

June 13, 2019

While the Peltier effect has been around for over a hundred years it’s no secret that thermoelectric devices never really took off as an obvious choice when it came to electronics cooling options. The truth is that they failed because they simply weren’t all that great. They didn’t perform as well as passive solutions or even liquid coolers or big bulky fans. They were made out of inferior materials. They didn’t dissipate the heat fast enough or often even work as advertised in the manufacturer’s data sheet. So over time cooling using the Peltier effect became less popular.

So what’s changed?

Technology is changing. Cooling requirements are changing. Increased power densities have caused many contemporary applications to outrun traditional passive cooling solutions and the constant drive for miniaturization have caused traditional active cooling strategies (e.g., fans, liquid cooling) to come up short as well. Consumers have higher expectations on performance, including size and noise. Staying on the cost and performance track articulated 50 years ago in Moore’s law is no longer just about the doubling of transistor density per square inch; continued progress on Moore’s law is now gated by the ability to get heat away from those densely-packed transistors as well. To keep up, the cooling becomes crucial and thermoelectric devices are proving superior in smaller form factors.

Take a new look at thermoelectric devices

Phononic’s thermoelectric devices can be found in the most demanding computing, laser, and optical communication applications. Our devices along with scalable system design strategies are commercially available in applications including commercial refrigerators, in-line beverage coolers, wine coolers, CPU coolers, and even LED display signs. Last year we successfully launched a pharmacy-grade line of refrigerators — and later this year we’ll broaden the line with a first-of-its kind freezer!

Our thermoelectric components are manufactured in the US at an ISO 9001:2008 certified facility and in contrast to yesterday’s TEC devices, these are:

  1. Built using superior material — Phononic starts with the highest performing raw materials but we don’t stop there. Each thermal and electrical interface of the device are engineered to eliminate parasitics and deliver superior system-level performance.
  2. Scalable — We’ve built devices as small as 1x2mm and scaled devices powerful enough to cool a medical-grade freezer to -20°C. Our devices, in combination with scalable systems compete and exceed the specifications of a traditional compressor!
  3. Application-specific — Browse our website ( You won’t find a catalog of standard TECs with fixed dimensions and worn out performance curves. Phononic can customize your thermoelectric solution in terms of size and cooling performance to match your performance targets, form factor, and budget.

What you end up with is a durable thermoelectric device, built to withstand the toughest conditions:

In addition, Phononic has a world-class engineering team that understands the complexity of not only thermoelectric devices but how they work within your application has helped advance thermoelectric cooling and heating capabilities. Contact us today and present your challenge—chances are we’ve got a solution! Or check out our existing pharmacy-grade refrigerator product line here.