A Cool Concept
If the people at
Institute have their way, you might just be able to have your cake
and eat it too, at least when it comes to keeping ICs cool. A prototype
semiconductor thermoelectric device has been developed that is many
times more efficient at cooling that anything that has preceded it.
Their array cools a small block of steel by 15 °F in 2 minutes. It works
in reverse, too; that is to say it generates electric current when exposed
to heat. Imagine mating this device to a cell phone PA and having it
boost efficiency by both keeping it cool and feeding the heat-generated
current back to the bias circuits. Visions of grandeur by the inventors
foretell of the eventual replacement of conventional refrigerators and
air conditioners. No time line has been proposed, however.