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Thermo Electric Cooler

Thermoelectric Materials and Devices

Data traffic is projected to increase sharply (40-80× by 2020) and this is driving an increase in network complexity and the requirement for scalable optoelectronic integration. A major bottleneck to this large scale integration is thermal management. Active photonic devices generate extremely high heat flux levels (~10 kW/cm2) that must be efficiently removed to maintain performance and reliability; furthermore, active photonic devices must be controlled at temperature precision better than ±0.1°C. Today’s thermal technology is at the limit and cannot scale with growth in the network.

SEM micrographs of electrodeposited (a) p-type (Sb1-xBix)2Te3 and (b) n-type Bi2Te3.
SEM micrographs of electrodeposited (a) p-type (Sb1-xBix)2Te3 and (b) n-type Bi2Te3.

Current state-of-the-art thermal design of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) is unable to meet the challenge in data traffic over the coming years. Today’s PICs employ macro thermoelectric cooler (TEC) that are inefficient in thermal management of the device. Micro-TEC integrated directly on the laser can more efficiently manage thermal cooling of the device.

The goal of TIPS, Thermally Integrated Photonics Systems, is to develop, for the first time, a design methodology for photonic devices and packages with integrated thermal management to enable cost-effective large-scale deployment of highly functional PICs for high bandwidth communications ranging from intra chip to long-reach applications. One of the crucial factors to influence the efficiency of integrated TEC is the thermoelectric material. The material efficiency is characterized by ZT = S2 ø T/k, where S is the Seebeck coefficient, ø is the electrical conductivity, k is the total thermal conductivity, T is the absolute temperature, and the product (S2ø) is the power factor (PF). A large value of ZT over a wide range of temperatures can be achieved by having high power factor and low thermal conductivity values.

In this activity, the team is working to develop innovative thermoelectric materials with peculiar microstructure by electrodeposition technique on Silicon for fabrication of TEC device. The goal is to fabricate the thermoelectric cooler directly on PIC chip and thereby efficiently tune the operating temperature of the PIC.



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