When a passive heat sink is at its cooling limits, a great option is to to enhance the performance through Thermoelectric cooling. A Thermoelectric cooling system uses the Peltier effect and uses a TEC that is semiconductor device that functions as a small heat pump. In the 1800’s Thomas Seebeck discovered that an electric current would flow continuously in a device made up of two dissimilar metals provided that the junctions of the metals were maintained at two different temperatures. Enhancing this discovery, in 1834 Jean Charles Athanase Peltier determined that heat could be generated when a current is generated between two conductors. Peltier also found the Thermoelectric device can create a voltage when there is a different temperature on each side. A typical Peltier heat pump involves multiple junctions in series, through which a current is driven. Some of the junctions lose heat due to the Peltier effect, while others gain heat. Thermoelectric heat pumps exploit this phenomenon, as do thermoelectric cooling devices found in refrigerators. There are many articles online about this effect, and a great starting point is at Northwestern University Materials Science and Engineering.
Adding heat sinks to the Thermo Electric Cooler increases the peltier effect. Radian Thermal Products has been optimizing the heat sink design for many of our customers through thermal simulation that can also take into account other factors such as a fan, cold plate, and the packaging. We can offer just the heat sink, or supply the complete assembly to create an Active Cooling System.