Superlattice-based thin-film thermoelectric modules with high cooling fluxes

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Abstract

In present-day high-performance electronic components, the generated heat loads result in unacceptably high junction temperatures and reduced component lifetimes. Thermoelectric modules can, in principle, enhance heat removal and reduce the temperatures of such electronic devices. However, state-of-the-art bulk thermoelectric modules have a maximum cooling flux qmax of only about 10 W cm-2, while state-of-the art commercial thin-film modules have a qmax <100 W cm-2. Such flux values are insufficient for thermal management of modern high-power devices. Here we show that cooling fluxes of 258 W cm-2 can be achieved in thin-film Bi2 Te3-based superlattice thermoelectric modules. These devices utilize a p-type Sb2 Te3/Bi2 Te3 superlattice and n-type δ-doped Bi2 Te3-x Sex, both of which are grown heteroepitaxially using metalorganic chemical vapour deposition. We anticipate that the demonstration of these high-cooling-flux modules will have far-reaching impacts in diverse applications, such as advanced computer processors, radio-frequency power devices, quantum cascade lasers and DNA micro-arrays.

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Bulman, G., Barletta, P., Lewis, J., Baldasaro, N., Manno, M., Bar-Cohen, A., & Yang, B. (2016). Superlattice-based thin-film thermoelectric modules with high cooling fluxes. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10302

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