eTEC adds just 100 microns of height to a heat spreader. (Photo: Nextreme)
June 29, 2007 — Nextreme‘s new miniature thin film embedded thermoelectric cooler, eTEC, is designed to address the thermal management needs of the electronics, photonics, bio-tech and defense/aerospace industries. Manufactured using semiconductor processing techniques, the nanostructured eTEC promises high-power densities and microsecond response times in an ultra-small footprint — as small as 0.3mm x 0.3mm x 0.1mm.
“Unlike conventional thermoelectric components made by manually assembling individual pellets together, we utilize semiconductor processing techniques to provide pin-point thermal control for high heat fluxes,” says Nextreme CTO Dr. Seri Lee. The process, Lee claims, increases product performance, reliability, and yield.
Nextreme says eTECs offer an industry first, the seamless embedding of an active cooling and/or heating device in close proximity to the die of an integrated circuit. The eTEC structure optimizes thermal and electronic transport for enhanced thermoelectric performance by operating as miniature heat pumps; for rapid cooling or heating semiconductors and other electronics; for thermal management of fiber-optic laser controls and integrated optoelectronics; or for power generation by converting waste heat into electricity to increase efficiency in thermal batteries and automotive energy management.
Nextreme’s eTECs are designed with thin films that add just 100 microns of height to a heat spreader, enabling unobtrusive integration close to the heat source. The device pumps a maximum heat flux of 150W/cm2 with some designs delivering as much as 400W/cm2 versus less than 10 – 20W/cm2 for typical bulk TECs.