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Optimized Thermoelectric Module-Heat Sink Assemblies for Precision Temperature Control

[+] Author Affiliations
Rui Zhang, David A. Brooks, Marc Hodes, Matthew van Lieshout, Vincent P. Manno

Tufts University, Medford, MA

Paper No. IPACK2011-52019, pp. 37-45; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 Pacific Rim Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Systems
  • ASME 2011 Pacific Rim Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Systems, MEMS and NEMS: Volume 2
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, July 6–8, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4462-5
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Robust precision temperature control of photonics components is achieved by mounting them on thermoelectric modules (TEMs) which are in turn mounted on heat sinks. However, the power consumption of TEMs is high because high currents are driven through Bi2 Te3 -based semiconducting materials with high electrical resistivity and finite thermal conductivity. This problem is exacerbated when the ambient temperature surrounding a TEM varies in the usual configuration where the air-cooled heat sink a TEM is mounted to is of specified thermal resistance. Indeed, heat sinks of negligible and relatively high thermal resistances minimize TEM power consumption for sufficiently high and low ambient temperatures, respectively. Optimized TEM-heat sink assemblies reduce the severity of this problem. In the problem considered, total footprint of thermoelectric material in a TEM, thermoelectric material properties, heat load, component operating temperature, relevant component-side thermal resistances and ambient temperature range are prescribed. Provided is an algorithm to compute the unique combination of the height of the pellets in a TEM and the thermal resistance of the heat sink attached to it which minimizes the maximum power consumption of the TEM over the specified ambient temperature range. This optimization maximizes the fraction of the power budget in an optoelectronics circuit pack available for other uses. Implementation of the algorithm is demonstrated through an example for a typical set of conditions.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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