Impact of Thermal Radiation on the Performance of Ultrasmall Microcoolers

Shea, Ryan; Gawarikar, Anand; Talghader, Joseph
July 2013
Journal of Electronic Materials;Jul2013, Vol. 42 Issue 7, p1870
Academic Journal
On extremely small scales, traditional microcooler performance estimates must be corrected to include losses due to radiation. We present a method for analysis of microcoolers having a significant radiative contribution to their thermal conductance. We have fabricated ultrasmall microcoolers from sputtered BiTe/SbTe thermoelectric junctions with cooling volumes of 200 μm × 200 μm × 65 nm, which we believe to be the smallest microcoolers ever made. The devices are highly thermally isolated with total thermal conductance under 5 × 10 W/K in vacuum at room temperature. By fitting the temperature response to input power of the devices in vacuum, we have quantified the nonlinearity of the response to calculate the radiative and film contributions to the total thermal conductance of the device. Three device geometries are presented, with radiative contributions to thermal conductance of 15%, 26%, and 100% depending on their emissive area and support structure. The cooling capabilities of these devices are also measured with maximum cooling of 3.1 K for the 15% radiation-limited device and 2.6 K for the 26% radiation-limited device, with power consumptions below 5 μW.


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