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What is a Peltier element?

Definition: Thermoelectric coolers(Peltier elements) are solid-state heat pumps that operate according to the Peltier effect: a theory presents that a heating or cooling effect occurs when an electric current passes through two conductors. A voltage applied to the free ends of two dissimilar materials(N-type and P-type) creates a temperature difference. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Peltier element schematic view

Figure 1: Peltier element schematic view

Peltier effect: the phenomenon that a potential difference applied across a thermocouple cause a temperature difference between the junctions of the different materials in the thermocouple.[1]

Operating principle: As it can be seen in Figure 2, if the current goes the shown direction, the upper side will get cold, energy will get removed and the lower part will get hot, it will obtain the energy removed from the upper side. If the current is inverted, the upper part will be hot and the lower cold. [2]

Figure 2: Peltier element operating principle scheme

Figure 2: Peltier element operating principle scheme

Performance: The Peltier elements work following this equation: The amount of heat (Q) that can be absorbed is proportional to the current(I) applied and the time(t) that is has been applied.  Finally, there is the Peltier coefficient(P), which depends on temperature and the materials of which the Peltier is done.  The equation is then:  Q=Pit


The majority of the Peltier elements or TECs have an ID printed (Figure 3) that explains their properties and this ID is universally used: TEX1XXX00

  • X: Size, C=Standard or S=small   1: # of stages, typically 1  
  • XXX:  # of couples, 5pn couples) Highly doped= more conductive 00: Current rating, typically 6 to 9 Amps
Peltier element picture

Figure 3: Peltier element picture

Why Peltier element inside CherryTemp

While  the box is the brain,  Peltier elements inside the Heat Exchanger are the heart of the system. Indeed, they are located in each channel of the exchanger and are in charge of the cooling/heating the thermalization liquid. They are the warden of the sample temperature during microscopic observations.


  • 1. Seifert W, Pluschke V, Hinsche NF. Thermoelectric cooler concepts and the limit for maximum cooling. J Phys Condens Matter . IOP Publishing; 2014 Jun 25 [cited 2017 Jun 12];26(25):255803.
  • 2. Snyder GJ, Toberer ES, Khanna R, Seifert W. Improved thermoelectric cooling based on the Thomson effect. Phys Rev B. American Physical Society; 2012 Jul 6 [cited 2017 Jun 12];86(4):45202.
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