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Thermoelectric Coolers for Thermal Gradient Management on Chip

[+] Author Affiliations
Owen Sullivan, Man Prakash Gupta, Saibal Mukhopadhyay, Satish Kumar

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Paper No. IMECE2010-38184, pp. 187-195; 9 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 4: Electronics and Photonics
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4428-1
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Site-specific and on-demand cooling of hot spots in the microprocessors can provide efficient cooling solution, improve its performance and increase its life time by reducing peak temperature and achieving more uniform thermal profile on the chip. Thermoelectric coolers (TEC) have the potential to provide such efficient cooling of hot spots on a chip. We investigate pulse cooling behavior of ultra-thin multiple TEC devices integrated inside the electronic package on the active side of a chip below the heat spreader. Various pulse profiles have been studied to obtain optimal shape of the current pulse in order to efficiently operate TECs considering crucial parameters such as the total energy consumed in TECs, peak temperature on the chip, temperature overshoot at hot spot and settling time during pulsed cooling of hot spots. The square root pulse profile is found to be most effective with maximum cooling and half the energy expenditure in comparison to a constant current pulse. It has been observed that high thermal contact resistances can entirely negate the transient cooling effect of the TECs. We analyze the operation of multiple TECs for cooling spatiotemporally varying hot spots. The analysis shows that the temperature of the hot spots can be retained below a threshold using transient current pulses through the TECs. This underlines the benefits of using multiple TECs for hot spot cooling in order to obtain favorable thermal profile on the chip in an energy efficient way.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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