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Technical Briefs

Impact of Interface Resistance on Pulsed Thermoelectric Cooling

[+] Author and Article Information
Y. Sungtaek Ju

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department,  University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1597; Biomedical Engineering Interdepartmental Program,  University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1597just@seas.ucla.edu

J. Heat Transfer 130(1), 014502 (Jan 28, 2008) (3 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2780186 History: Received December 20, 2006; Revised June 18, 2007; Published January 28, 2008

Pulsed thermoelectric cooling is an attractive approach for the site specific thermal management of infrared sensors and other low-heat flux devices. Intense Joule heating caused by electrical interface resistance, however, can severely degrade pulsed cooling performance. Numerical simulations are used to quantify the impact of the interface resistance on pulsed thermoelectric cooling. The degradation in performance is most pronounced for microcoolers that have small bulk resistivity at high pulse amplitudes. Our work also forms a basis for new techniques to probe interfaces in TE devices for energy harvesting as well as cooling applications.

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Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic diagram of a freestanding thermoelectric element subjected to a pulsed current. A region near the interface at the cold junction is enlarged to show differential elements used for the finite volume method.

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Figure 2

Predicted temporal temperature profiles in the cold junction of the model macrocooler subjected to a current pulse of amplitude of 3.5Imin,ss. The simulation results are shown for three different values of the electrical interface resistance.

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Figure 3

Extra temperature drop due to pulsed cooling as a function of the current ratio. Imin,ss is the current necessary to achieve the minimum steady-state cold-junction temperature. The symbols are experimental data from Snyder (6).

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Figure 4

Comparison between the temporal temperature profiles experimentally observed and predicted in the present study for the model macrocooler. tret is the time from the pulse initiation to return to the steady-state cold-junction temperature.

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Figure 5

The impact of the electrical interface resistance on the pulsed cooling performance of microthermoelectric coolers of length of 100μm

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