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Microelectronic Engineering 129 (2014) 7780

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Microelectronic Engineering
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/mee

Fabrication of a unipolar Peltier device using a pair of N-type


thermoelectric materials
Shigeo Yamaguchi , Hideyuki Homma
Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering, Kanagawa University, 3-27-1 Rokkakubashi, Kanagawa-ku, 221-8686 Yokohama, Japan

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 1 May 2014
Received in revised form 27 June 2014
Accepted 24 July 2014
Available online 1 August 2014
Keywords:
Thermoelectric
Peltier
Seebeck
BiSeTe

a b s t r a c t
We proposed and fabricated an NN-type Peltier device composed of two small N-type Bi2Se0.37Te2.36
thermoelectric bulk materials. This structure includes an additional electric wire between the two N-type
bulks. We introduce an application of the NN-type Peltier device as a stage on which a temperature difference can be induced by altering the current, targeting a rapid amplication system for deoxyribonucleic acid (a thermal cycler for the polymerase chain reaction). The currents in the two circuits differ
from each other. The current dependence of the stage temperature of the NN-type Peltier device was
investigated and the temperature difference on the stage was 21.4 C at a current of 24 A. To analyze
the device performance, the heat balance for the Peltier device composed of two N-type bulks was
obtained by considering the effects of the electric resistance and thermal conductance of the central electric wire between the two N-type materials. The Seebeck coefcient, total resistance, total thermal
conductance, and heat absorption were obtained by tting to be 4.24  104 V/K, 2.55  104 X,
0.159 W/K, and 1.13 W, respectively, which were in good agreement with those estimated using literature values. Moreover, we fabricated an NN-type thermoelectric power device with a temperature difference of 70 K, an open voltage of 16 V, and a maximum power of 8 mW at a current of 0.9 A.
2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Thermoelectricity refers to the direct conversion of heat into
electricity or vice versa. Research in the thermoelectric eld has
expanded to include the analysis of the thermoelectric performance of many compounds with the aim of improving their
thermoelectric properties for use in power generation and environmentally friendly cooling [1,2].
As an application of thermoelectrics, in ber optics and
integrated circuits, Peltier modules are used to stabilize the temperature performance of semiconductor devices such as semiconductor lasers for optical communication [35]. Moreover, the
recent miniaturization of Peltier modules used in optical components has made them suitable for high-density packaging processes, which has led to circuit chips and small infrared sensors
that require cooling using Peltier modules to increase their performance and improve their S/N ratio [6,7]. Miniaturized Peltier modules can remove heat directly from an electronic component,
preventing it from overheating and allowing higher operating performance. This improves the reliability and lifetime of electronic
devices.
Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +81 45 481 5661/7915.
E-mail address: yamags18@kanagawa-u.ac.jp (S. Yamaguchi).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mee.2014.07.021
0167-9317/ 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

The miniaturization of devices, including microuidics and


micro electrophoresis devices, has also attracted interest in the
elds of analytical chemistry and bioengineering [8]. These devices
are particularly suitable for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis.
In these devices, Peltier modules are used, especially in the thermal
cycle for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) [9]. The PCR is an
extremely important and well-established technique for DNA
amplication and is widely used in genome sequencing, forensics,
and the diagnosis of various diseases [9]. For a successful PCR, precise temperature control is required between three different temperatures, typically 54, 72, and 94 C [9,10]. Transitions between
these temperatures must be conducted with a rapid temperature
gradient.
These Peltier modules use both P-type and N-type thermoelectric materials [1,2]: the use of bipolar materials leads to the range
of materials that can be used being limited to those with either
P-type or N-type conductivity; both types of electrical conductivity
are seldom found in the same material.
In this paper, we report the development of a novel NN-type
Peltier device with a temperature gradient using a pair of N-type
thermoelectric materials, which may solve the above problem.
We have targeted the application of our NN-type Peltier device
as a PCR thermal cycler. No devices with a stage on which a temperature gradient can occur at a specic location have previously

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S. Yamaguchi, H. Homma / Microelectronic Engineering 129 (2014) 7780

20

Temperature [ oC]

been reported. This feature is useful for preparing rapid and precise
screening conditions such as the temperature conditions for the
PCR: PCR thermal cyclers in general include a conventional Peltier
device that is required to change the temperature rapidly between
three different temperatures. However, it is ideal for the PCR procedure if these different temperatures are xed. Our proposed
NN-type Peltier stage is suitable for this application.
To realize rapid PCR systems, their miniaturization has so far
been performed using a microreactor, capillary, or silicon technology [1114]. Although lm-based Peltier devices are important in
electronics, they have not yet been employed in commercial use.
We consider that lm-based devices can be developed as an extension of bulk devices. Thus, we provide a new technique for using
bulk devices that can be applied to lm-based devices.

Tc

15

Th

10
5
0
-5
-10
-15

Tc-h=Tc-Th

: Cold side
: Hot side
: Tem perature
difference

10

15

20

25

Current [A]
Fig. 2. Current dependence of temperature of NN-type Peltier device.

2. Experimental
Fig. 1(a) shows the proposed unipolar Peltier device fabricated
with only N-type materials. This structure features an additional
electric wire between two N-type bulks. The PN-sandwich structure, which we previously developed [1517], gave us the inspiration for this NN-type structure. In this device, unlike the device in
[17], the central electric wire in the actual device is directly contacted with the electrode bridging the two NN-type bulks. This
structure reduces the electric resistance of the device. Moreover,
as described below, two independent currents are used to provide
temperature difference on the electrode itself. Using this structure,
the top metal stage can be cooled or heated by changing the current polarity. The amounts of heat absorption and heat dissipation
can be changed by varying the current I. Each N-type bulk is Bi2
Se0.37Te2.36 (3.2  3.2  1.7 mm). The thickness of the metal stage
on which both N-type bulks were set was 0.2 mm. The contact
between the stage and the wire was formed using solder. As shown
in Fig. 1(b), through-holes were made in the hot-side electrodes
made from copper, through which water ows to enhance heat dissipation. The temperatures on the cold and hot sides were measured when the current was changed from 0 to 24 A in
increments of 2 A.
3. Results and discussion
Fig. 2 shows the current dependence of the stage temperature of
the NN-type Peltier device shown in Fig. 1(a). The temperature of
the cold side of the metal stage, Tc (circles), and that of the hot side
(the electrode through which water ows), Th (squares), were 17
and 10 C, which corresponded to room temperature and the

temperature of the owing water, respectively. The stage temperature reached 1.9 C at a current of 24 A, and the temperature difference between the cold side and the hot side (triangles) was
10.4 C. Here, the temperature difference DT ch is dened as
DT ch T c  T h .
Analogous to the heat balance for a PN-type Peltier device [1,2],
the heat balance for a Peltier device composed of two N-type bulks
is given by

1
Q aT c I  RI2  KT h  T c ;
2

where Q , a 2aN , T c , R 2RN , and K 2K N are the heat absorption, the Seebeck coefcient for the two thermoelectric materials,
the temperature of the cold side, the internal resistance of the
device, and the thermal conductance between the cold and the
hot sides, respectively. The subscript N represents an N-type material, and the properties of the two N-type materials are assumed to
be the same here. Moreover, we must consider the effects of the
electric resistance and thermal conductance of the central electric
wire between the two N-type materials. After some modication
of Eq. (1), we obtain the expression

1
Q aT c I  Rt I2  K t T h  T c ;
2

Fig. 1(b). Detailed structure of electrodes and heat dissipation in Fig. 1(a).

where 1=Rt 1=R 1=Rwire and K t K K wire . Here, Rwire and K wire
are the electric resistance and thermal conductance of the central
wire, respectively.
The solid line shown in Fig. 2 was obtained by tting the plotted
data to Eq. (3), which was derived from Eq. (2), where Tc was set to
282 K, which was the average temperature for currents from 0 to
24 A.

DT ch

Fig. 1(a). Structure of proposed NN-type Peltier device.

aT c I 12 Rt I2 Q
Kt

The tting parameters a, Rt, Kt, and Q were obtained to be


4.24  104 V/K, 2.55  104 X, 0.159 W/K, and 1.13 W, respectively. To verify these values, they were estimated using some
values in the literature and calculated values [18]: a, Rt, and Kt were
estimated to be 4.20  104 V/K, 1.65  104 X, and 0.0712 W/
mK, respectively. For the N-type material, a/2 (the Seebeck coefcient) was 2.10  104 V/K, q (electric resistivity) was
1.0  105 Xm, and j (thermal conductivity) was 1.4 W/mK [18];
for the copper wire, q was 1.68  109 Xm and j was 401 W/km,
where the copper wire was 100 mm in length and 3.5 mm in diameter. For the heat absorption, a value of 1.6 W was experimentally
obtained for a PN-type Peltier device at a current of 24 A and a temperature difference of 10 K. These parameters are summarized in
Table 1.
On the whole, the tted and estimated values are in relatively
good agreement. However, the deviation between the tted and

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S. Yamaguchi, H. Homma / Microelectronic Engineering 129 (2014) 7780

80

Temperature [ oC]

estimated values is larger for Rt and Kt. This strongly indicates that
the serial contact resistance and the heat passing through the central electric wire affect the performance of the NN-type Peltier
device.
Next, we describe another application of the NN-type Peltier
device, varying the temperature on the metal stage itself, as shown
in Fig. 3.
In this type of Peltier device, the currents I1 and I2 in the two circuits differ from each other as shown in Fig. 4(a). If the current is
different in each N-type material, a temperature difference is
induced on the metal stage. Moreover, the temperature difference
on the stage, DT 12 T 1  T 2 , i.e., the temperature gradient, can be
altered by changing the current. We experimentally investigated
the current dependence of DT 12 .
The experimental data for the device shown in Fig. 4(a) is
depicted in Fig. 4(b).
Current I1 was xed to 24 A for the heating operation and current I2 was varied from 0 to 24 A for the cooling operation. In spite
of I1 being xed at 24 A, the temperature on the hot side of the
stage decreased with increasing current I2, suggesting the transfer
of heat. Generally, DT 12 gradually increased with increasing current I1.
With increasing current I1, the temperatures on both the hot
side (T1) and the cold side (T2) decreased, while DT 12 increased.
This indicates that the decrease in temperature on the cold side
is larger than that on the hot side. Consequently, using this effect,
a temperature difference can be induced on the stage. DT 12 was
21.4 C at a current I1 of 24 A.
In the next experiment, current I2 was xed at 24 A and I1 was
varied from 0 to 24 A as shown in Fig. 5(a). The experimental data

40

T2

: Hot side
: Cold side
: T1-2=T1-T2

20
0

T1-2

10

15

20

25

Current [A]
Fig. 4(b). Current (I2) dependence of temperature difference on stage for NN-type
Peltier device shown in (a).

Fig. 5(a). NN-type Peltier device with temperature difference on top stage. I2 was
xed to 24 A, and I1 was varied from 0 to 24 A.

80

a [V/K]

Rt [X]

Kt [W/K]

Q [W]

4.24  104
4.20  104

2.55  104
1.65  104

0.159
0.0712

1.13
1.6

Temperature [ oC]

Table 1
Pamareters obtained by tting and estimation.

Fitted
Estimated

T1

60

: Hot side
: Cold side
: T1-2=T1-T2

60

T1

40

T2

20
T1-2

10

15

20

25

Current [A]
Fig. 5(b). Current (I1) dependence of temperature difference on stage for NN-type
Peltier device shown in (a).

Fig. 3. NN-type Peltier device with temperature difference on top stage.

are plotted in Fig. 5(b). At a current of 0 A on the hot side, the temperature on the hot side (T1) was 10.2 C and that on the cold side
(T2) was 2.8 C. With increasing current I2, both temperatures
increased and DT 12 simultaneously increased. DT 12 was a maximum of 21.7 C at a current I1 of 24 A.
Finally, we introduce an application of our NN-type Peltier
device as a thermoelectric device, where a temperature difference
of 70 K was induced between the top stage and the electrodes (not
shown here). From the temperature dependences of the output
voltage and output power of an NN-type thermoelectric power
device employing the NN-type Peltier device, the maximum power
was 8 mW at a current of 0.9 A and the open voltage was 16 V.
4. Conclusion

Fig. 4(a). NN-type Peltier device with temperature difference on top stage. I1 was
xed to 24 A and I2 was varied from 0 to 24 A.

We proposed and fabricated an NN-type Peltier device composed of two N-type thermoelectric materials. We also fabricated

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S. Yamaguchi, H. Homma / Microelectronic Engineering 129 (2014) 7780

a stage on which a temperature difference was realized that could


be changed by altering the current. Our results demonstrated that
even thermoelectric materials with either N-type or P-type electrical carriers can be used to fabricate thermoelectric Peltier and
Seebeck devices.
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