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Doc Overclock · 06-14-2002 · Category: Guides

What is a Peltier Device?

The basic concept behind Thermoelectric (TE) technology is the Peltier Effect a phenomenon discovered in the early 19TH century.

Peltier devices AKA thermoelectric (TEC) modules are small solid-state devices that function as cooling or heating pumps. A typical unit is usually few centimeters square by a few millimeters thick. In between the modules is a sandwich formed by two ceramic plates with an array of small Bismuth Telluride cubes that are used to create the Peltier Effect.

When a DC current is applied heat is moved from one side of the device to the other where using a heatsink must dissipate it, that or a liquid based cooling system as we did in these experiments.

The "cold" side is commonly used to cool an electronic device such as a microprocessor or a photo detector. It normally functions as a cooler (drawing heat from a microprocessor or ASIC), but can also effectively serve as a heat pump by reversing the current through the Peltier device.


  1. Introduction
  2. Setup
  3. What is a Peltier Device?
  4. The Milestone Report
  5. Performance
  6. Conclusion