Freiburg, Germany — Micropelt GmbH, Freiburg, Germany-based manufacturer of thin film thermoelectrics, introduces the MPC-D40x series, a new generation of highly efficient thermoelectric coolers (TECs). Micropelt’s micro-structuring technology enables them to produce TECs with an electrical resistance of more than 30 Ohms on a single square millimeter footprint. The TEC, in combination with its controller system, can therefore be driven at an efficiency of 90% and better. This new approach will impact the system architecture of applications using small TECs including those where cooling is omitted for reasons of system cost and power dissipation. Applications include cooling of lower power laser diodes and other active or passive devices in the telecommunications, photonics, optoelectronics, and sensors markets.
Micropelt’s MPC-D403/404 TECs are fabricated using semiconductor manufacturing processes that enable Micropelt to produce the world’s smallest micro-coolers. Feature sizes of 45 microns can accommodate 50 thermocouples per square millimeter, about ten times more than bulk Peltier technology can offer. “Our micro-structuring technology is able to scale to application specific dimensions, electrical requirements, and thermal properties,” explains Joachim Nurnus, CTO of Micropelt. “We measure drive currents 10 times smaller than those known for similar bulk TECs whose few thermocouples create an electrical resistance much below 1 Ohm and hence a drive current well above 1 ampere.”
The MPC-D40x series can pump over 600 milliWatts with a drive current of 200 milliamps as required for thermal management of low power edge emitting lasers or VCSELs. At low drive currents the power efficiency of the TEC increases. At the same time, the design of the control circuitry can be simpler, which also translates to reductions on the bill-of-materials and circuit board footprint.
Micropelt’s wafer-based production technology brings economies-of-scale to the high volume manufacture of TECs. The TEC control system not only benefits from standard, inexpensive, readily available, and ultra-small TEC control circuit components, but its overall power efficiency results in greatly reduced power consumption and heat dissipation on densely packed line cards. Micropelt’s micro-cooler represents a compelling technology for use with products not normally exposed to active cooling, but that would benefit from higher performance, tighter specifications, and further miniaturization.
Filed Under: Semiconductor, Electronics • electrical