Nextreme Thermal Solutions™, the leader in microscale thermal and power management products for the electronics industry, announces that it has been awarded US Patent 7,342,169 for "Phonon-Blocking, Electron-Transmitting Low-Dimensional Structures" technology that has the potential to significantly impact energy conservation and thermal management. Nextreme's newest patent represents the culmination of pioneering work carried out by RTI International more than seven years ago in the area of nano-structured thermoelectric materials. Nextreme acquired all of RTI's intellectual property in thermoelectric materials and devices in 2004.
This patent will be marketed as the OptoCooler™ module.
Thermoelectrics are used to convert waste heat into electrical power, and also for cooling electronics. Numerous researchers in North America have reported significantly enhanced efficiencies in thermoelectrics using nano-structured materials. This includes pioneering work on superlattices at RTI International and MIT that started in the 1990's and more recently at MIT and Boston College using nano-particles.
The nano-approach uses a commonly available thermoelectric material called Bismuth Telluride, constructed on a nanoscale to create an assembly that researchers believe blocks the transmission of phonons, which carry heat, and enhances the transmission of electrons, which carry electrical energy. The result is a radical boost in material efficiency with reports of 40% to 140% improvement.
This approach has provided a scalable and inexpensive pathway for integrating thermal management functionality directly into electronic packaging and has enabled Nextreme's OptoCooler™ module, the world's smallest thermoelectric cooler and the industry's first device to offer a heat pumping density in excess of 70 W/cm2.