On-chip cooling by superlattice-based thin-film thermoelectrics
There is a significant need for site-specific and on-demand cooling in electronic1, 2, optoelectronic3 and bioanalytical4 devices, where cooling is currently achieved by the use of bulky and/or over-designed system-level solutions. Thermoelectric devices can address these limitations while also enabling energy-efficient solutions, and significant progress has been made in the development of nanostructured thermoelectric materials with enhanced figures-of-merit5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. However, fully functional practical thermoelectric coolers have not been made from these nanomaterials due to the enormous difficulties in integrating nanoscale materials into microscale devices and packaged macroscale systems. Here, we show the integration of thermoelectric coolers fabricated from nanostructured Bi2Te3-based thin-film superlattices into state-of-the-art electronic packages. We report cooling of as much as 15 °C at the targeted region on a silicon chip with a high (1,300 W cm-2) heat flux. This is the first demonstration of viable chip-scale refrigeration technology and has the potential to enable a wide range of currently thermally limited applications.