COOLING & TEMPERATURE CONTROL

Better Thermal Management: Smaller. Faster.
(Cooler or Warmer) 

Laird delivers the only fully-scalable technology solution for today’s thermal challenges.

eTEC (embedded thermoelectric component) 

For the most efficient in-package or thru-package hot spot cooling, Laird eTECs act as a microscale heat pump, providing pinpoint thermal control for high heat fluxes. Laird devices are very thin, able to embed directly inside a semiconductor package and even fit inside a TO-56 package.

Laird is developing cooling and temperature control solutions for a variety of applications including high-volume electronic packages, cooling microprocessors, graphic processors, and optoelectronic components. Laird devices are being used in a number of ways to provide cooling and temperature control:

  • Precision temperature control - since thermoelectrics can either cool or heat the chip depending on the current direction, they can be used to provide precision temperature control for chips and optoelectronic components that must operate within specific temperature ranges regardless of ambient conditions.
  • Hot spot cooling - because of the small size of Laird's products and the relatively high density at which they can be placed on the active surface, these devices can be applied only where needed, reducing the added power necessary to drive the cooling and reduce the general thermal overhead on the system.

eTEC THIN-FILM THERMOELECTRIC MODULES

The eTEC™™ Series are thin-film thermoelectric modules (TEM) that enable electronics to maintain peak performance by stabilizing the temperature of the device during operation. Thin-film technology has up to ten times the heat pumping capacity as conventional bulk technology per square area. Units are constructed with Bismuth Telluride semiconductor material and Aluminum Nitride ceramics and are suitable for higher voltage.

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The eTEC HV14 module is a RoHS-compliant, high voltage thermoelectric cooler designed for commonly found board-level current and voltages.
More > 

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The eTEC HV37 is ideal for opto-electronic applications with high heat-flux requirements, including but not limited to semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA), laser diodes and LEDs. More > 

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The eTEC HV56 thermoelectric cooler is designed for high heat electronic applications.
More > 

 

 

DESIGN SERVICES

From design through production, Laird offers a broad range of capabilities.

Laird is committed to surpassing our customers’ expectations in developing, qualifying, applying, producing and marketing cost-effective solutions for embedded thermal and power management.

Modeling Services 

Laird routinely conducts analytical and numerical thermal modeling at all design levels from component to module to subsystem. The level of complexity and the objectives of the project dictate the approach and the tools used.

Design Services 

Design services are often beneficial to organizations without existing thermal engineering expertise or when existing resources are limited. Laird works with the customer to provide design solutions that are the best fit for the customer's needs and budget.

Engineering Services 

The use of Laird’s engineering services can enable rapid and successful prototyping and accelerate a program as well as reduce program delays.

ISO 9000 Certification  

wiptrac.jpg Laird uses the WIPtrac manufacturing execution system for ISO 9000 quality standards compliance for work in process, integrated SPC quality and shop floor control.

Contact us for evaluation, analysis, prototype, test, verification or production assistance.

POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION PROCESS (PCR) THERMAL CYCLING

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The microscopic size and fast response time of Laird's thin-film eTEC thermoelectric modules enable a new generation of thermal cyclers that feature significantly shorter throughput times, smaller sample sizes, and reduced footprint for a compact, field-level design, promoting real-time testing in healthcare, forensics, and food safety.
PCR is a technique widely used in molecular biology to produce millions of copies of a specific DNA sequence in a short period of time. PCR-based testing is used in the diagnosis of hereditary diseases; the identification of genetic fingerprints (used in forensic sciences and paternity testing); and the detection and diagnosis of infectious diseases. The vast majority of PCR methods use thermal cycling, i.e., alternately heating and cooling of the DNA sample based on a predefined series of temperature steps.
A thermal cycler is an automated instrument specifically designed for this purpose. A typical device consists of a metal block with holes where plastic vials holding the PCR reaction mixtures are inserted. The instrument has an integrated heating/cooling unit that is used to systematically raise and lower the temperature of the block.

Laird Compact PCR Thermal Cycler Reference Design
A reference design for the temperature control of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process used for DNA amplification is now available. Learn more >

Rapid Cycle Time
Thermal cycle times in PCR thermal cyclers are determined both by the dwell times during the denaturation, annealing, and extension phases and the thermal transition time between these phases. Thermal cycle time is minimized and throughput maximized by minimizing the transition time between the phases. Conventional PCR systems use large individual sample volumes (e.g.; 100 µL) and temperature transitions at 1 - 5 °C/s. However, while most PCR protocols are performed at the 25 µL to 50 µL scale, sample volume as low as 5 µL have also been shown to be successful using Laird thin-film modules.

High Heat Pumping Capability
The high heat pumping capacity per unit area of the thin-film modules, along with their inherent rapid response, enables extremely rapid temperature transitions in the sample. For optimized designs, temperature transition rates in the range of 20°C/s to 30°C/s are feasible for currently used sample volumes. For smaller sample volumes, even faster temperature transitions rates are possible.

PCR_block.jpgThin-films Passes the Test
Laird has conducted rigorous reliability tests on the eTEC family of thermoelectric modules. The devices have surpassed baseline tests in mechanical shock, thermal storage and power cycling. In a recent power cycling experiment in particular, modules were subjected to over 300,000 power cycles with little change in AC resistance, a key measure of reliability and performance. This result is particularly important as the testing was conducted at an electrical current that far exceeds normal operating conditions, furthering indicating stable device performance over a large number of cycles. In all cases, the results strongly indicate modules are highly reliable for use in PCR thermal cycling applications.
Laird recommends the use of its thermal modeling, design and engineering services to deliver fully-optimized PCR thermal cycling solutions. Laird routinely conducts analytical and numerical thermal modeling at all design levels from component to module to subsystem.  

PCR REFERENCE DESIGN
Nextreme_PCR_Thermal_Cycler_Reference_Design.jpgLaird has modeled and designed a thermal cycler capable of 1-2 second transition times for 50 µl sample sizes that dramatically improves on the existing conventional Peltier solutions.  

 In the Laird thin-film reference design, the thermal subsystem consists of the sample cartridge holder, support platform, thin-film thermoelectric module with integrated heat spreader interface, and heat sink/fan combination. In conventional PCR systems intended for laboratory usage, multiple samples (e.g., 96 or more) are cycled together using a single large sample side heat spreader and a bulk thermoelectric device. However, the current market shift towards doctor's office or patient side usage systems only need to handle one to four samples at a time with potentially different protocol thermal requirements for each sample. The microscopic size of the Laird eTEC enables different temperatures in different parts of the block - something that cannot be achieved with conventional technology. 
 
 

 

Downloads: PCR Thermal Cycling White paper

Laird  recommends the use of its thermal modeling, design and engineering services to deliver fully-optimized PCR thermal cycling solutions. Laird routinely conducts analytical and numerical thermal modeling at all design levels from component to module to subsystem.

    
 
 

 

SEMICONDUCTOR TEST

semi_test.jpgSemiconductor-at-speed testing for device characterization is designed to evaluate the future performance of devices while they are driven at near failure environmental conditions. In addition, semiconductor die manufacturers use burn-in to eliminate the early life failures from their lots. The temperature of the device in this process must be held constant for a significant period of time then switched as quickly as possible. Bulk TECs have been used to provide this rapid heating and cooling in the past but with most things the conditions for these tests are pushing the limits for both switching speeds and heat pumping capability. 

Thin-film TECs have a larger heat pumping capability than standard bulk TECs but it is the superior switching speed of the devices that may ultimately prove to be their most valuable asset for this application. Recent measurements have shown that due to their smaller footprint and weight these thin-film TECs offer rapid switching that translates into more efficient use of energy for device characterization. In addition, the high heat flux of Laird's TECs enable direct cooling of today's high heat chips, eliminating the need for heat spreaders in the test system.  

Downloads:
Semiconductor Test White paper
 

Laird recommends the use of its thermal mode design and engineering services to deliver fully-optimized semiconductor test solutions. Laird routinely conducts analytical and numerical thermal modeling at all design levels from component to module to subsystem. 

 

LASER DIODE COOLING

Laser diodes traditionally have used thermoelectric coolers (TECs) for precision temperature control to improve diode output levels and maintain wavelength integrity. A major trend for photonics in telecommunications has been the move to packaging that is smaller and less expensive. This in turn will open the door for higher volume manufacturing. In the course of this transition, conventional TEC solutions have become increasingly difficult to implement as their size and power densities have not kept pace with the demands of optoelectronic technology.

Laird’s thin-film thermoelectric coolers have demonstrated a heat pumping capacity that far exceeds that provided by traditional bulk TEC products. This makes thin-film TECs ideally suited for high heat density applications. In addition to the increased heat pumping capability, the use of thin films will allow for truly novel and new implementations of TE devices. By taking advantage of the smaller; thinner form-factor, a new approach is enabled for electronic thermal management that focuses on providing appropriate cooling only when and where it is needed within the optoelectronic system.

laser_cooling_video

Laird recently conducted a test to demonstrate the benefits of cooling a laser diode with an OptoCooler HV14 module. A laser diode was mounted on the top side of a module in a TO-8 package and a test bed was assembled to measure the effects of cooling on laser output and wavelength. Click here to download the test report.

Laird recently conducted a test to demonstrate the benefits of cooling a laser diode with an OptoCooler HV14 module. A laser diode was mounted on the top side of a module in a TO-8 package and a test bed was assembled to measure the effects of cooling on laser output and wavelength. Click here to download the test report. 

 

 

 laser_diode  
Nextreme_TO_Package_with_Laser 

 Laird HV14 Laser Cooling 

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Laird HV14 fits in the smallest packages on the left  


HOTSPOT COOLING

Heat generation from silicon microprocessors is highly non-uniform both spatially and temporally, with localized high heat fluxes that vary with the workload. Current electronics cooling technologies based on conduction and convection can potentially cool moderately high heat fluxes by utilizing either novel passive heat transport materials (such as carbon nanotubes) or advanced heat exchangers (such as microchannels), respectively. But they cannot provide site-specific and/or on-demand localized cooling of high heat flux regions, thus resulting in over-designed, inefficient, and bulky thermal systems. In contrast, solid state (thermoelectric) refrigeration can provide rapid, localized, and on-demand active cooling, as well as increased cooling power densities.  

Chip-scale thermoelectric coolers for high-performance microelectronics can be integrated into microprocessor and electronics packages for high heat-flux thermal management for demanding computation. In the example below, a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) is placed inside the chip package, where the cooler is integrated onto conventional copper heat spreaders (Figure 1), just like the type already used in chip packaging to disperse heat.

 Hot_spot_cooling_fig_1.jpg
 
Figure 1. TEC for microprocessor hot‐spot thermal management. At left, the TEC with quarter shown for size. At right, illustration showing location of the TEC in the actual circuit‐level implementation.

Usually this piece of copper is in close contact with the chip, but we have put the 0.4 mm2, only 100-m-thick cooler between the chip and the copper. When the TEC is turned on, it cools a localized “hot” (>1200 W/cm2) region on the chip by about 15°C (Figure 2).

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Figure 2. Cooling data for the TEC.
This is significant, because generally speaking, for each 5°C increase in chip temperature, there is a many-fold decrease in a chip’s reliability and performance. In the demonstration, only one TEC was used, however, three or four TECs could cover the hottest areas of multi-core chips (Figure 3).

Hot_spot_cooling_fig_3.jpg
 
Figure 3. This figure shows several high‐power‐density spots on a state‐of‐the‐art microprocessor chip that may need to be thermally managed for effective operation. Data courtesy of Intel Corp.

Another example is managing hot spots in graphic card chips (figure 4).

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Figure 4. TEC on a graphics add‐in card. Here a hot spot has developed in the main data processing chip in the center of the graphic card. The TEC could help selectively manage such hot spots without the need to cool the entire graphic card. Note: To protect client confidentiality, the specific location of the hot spot on the graphics card is not shown but schematically indicated.

Here a hot spot has developed in the main data processing chip in the center of the graphic card. The TEC selectively manages such hot spots without the need to cool the entire graphic card.

Microscale thermoelectric coolers can be used to cool many electronic components, such as infrared arrays, and to enable efficient refrigeration/thermal management systems for many electronic, optoelectronic, and power electronic applications, bio-applications, such as high-speed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) applications, and other high-performance thermal management applications.

This approach for hot spot cooling is described in detail in an article entitled "On-chip cooling by superlattice-based thin-film thermoelectrics," published in Nature Nanotechnology (2009). See an abstract at here. Hot spot cooling is covered by U.S. Patent 7,523,617, "Thin film thermoelectric devices for hot spot thermal management in microprocessors and other electronics."
 

 

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