Thermoelectric coolers boost performance with thermal PCB construction

January 29, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Laird says it is the only company to makes both TEMs (thermoelectric coolers, or solid-state heat pumps) and thermally conductive circuit boards, which allows it to build the Tlam OptoTEC series for applications where temperature stabilisation of sensitive optical components in photonics, telecom, medical and consumer markets is critical, offering effective heat spreading, improved reliability and lower cost in high volume when compared to traditional heat removal systems.

Built using Laird Tlam thermally conductive circuit boards instead of traditional ceramic-based circuit boards, the use of the circuit board improves the heat pumping capabilities of the device. Tlam circuit boards feature a thin layer of thermally conductive dielectric material sandwiched between a top layer of standard copper foil and a thick metal backing plate for structural strength and improved heat spreading. Traditional ceramic-based circuit boards have very poor thermal conductivity, so any heat produced by the circuit must radiate from the top of the circuit board. With Tlam, the heat is transported off the bottom of the circuit board where the metal backing plate quickly carries heat laterally away from hot components. The combination of the Tlam circuit board with the thermoelectric offers a completely new way to design thermal rejection systems and can reduce the complexity of moving heat away from sensitive devices.

The Tlam OptoTEC series includes seven new modules that can create a temperature differential (ΔT) of up to 67°C and pump from 1.5 to 9.0W of heat at an ambient temperature of 25°C. At 85°C, the series can create a ΔT of 77°C and pump 1.6 to 9.9W of heat.

Laird Technologies; http://www.lairdtech.com/Products/Thermal-Management-Solutions/Thermoelectric-Modules/Tlam-OptoTEC/