Development of thick-film thermoelectric microcoolers using electrochemical deposition

J. P. Fleurial*, A. Borshchevsky, M. A. Ryan, W. M. Phillips, J. G. Snyder, T. Caillat, E. A. Kolawa, J. A. Herman, P. Mueller, M. Nicolet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Advanced thermoelectric microdevices integrated into thermal management packages and low power, electrical source systems are of interest for a variety of space and terrestrial applications. By shrinking the size of the thermoelements, or legs, of these devices, it becomes possible to handle much higher heat fluxes, as well as operate at much lower currents and higher voltages that are more compatible with electronic components. The miniaturization of state-of-the-art thermoelectric module technology based on Bi2Te3 alloys is limited due to mechanical and manufacturing constraints for both leg dimensions (100-200 μm thick minimum) and the number of legs (100-200 legs maximum). We are investigating the development of novel microdevices combining high thermal conductivity substrate materials such as diamond, thin film metallization and patterning technology, and electrochemical deposition of thick thermoelectric films. It is anticipated that thermoelectric microcoolers with thousands of thermocouples and capable of pumping more than 200 W/cm2 over a 30 to 60 K temperature difference can be fabricated. In this paper, we report on our progress in developing an electrochemical deposition process for obtaining 10-50 μm thick films of Bi2Te3 and its solid solutions. Results presented here indicate that good quality n-type Bi2Te3, n-type Bi2Te2.95Se0.05 and p-type Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 thick films can be deposited by this technique. Some details about the fabrication of the miniature thermoelements are also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-500
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 1999
EventProceedings of the 1998 MRS Fall Meeting - The Symposium 'Advanced Catalytic Materials-1998' - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Nov 30 1998Dec 3 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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