Modeling of a Bio-Thermo-Electric Micro-Cooler

The Open Biotechnology Journal 25 May 2007 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874070700701010001


This work is a part of an on-going research effort to fabricate a device consisting of an array of micro thermoelectric coolers (μTECs) for highly localized control of temperature in biological systems. A preliminary lumped 1-D parameter model was developed and numerical simulations were carried out to identify the critical and optimal design parameters for a μTEC operating under steady state conditions. The lumped parameter analysis revealed the presence of a new limitation on the maximum possible current through the system, which we denoted as the secondary breakdown current (as opposed to the primary breakdown current associated with Joules heating). To further understand the effect of contact resistances (thermal and electrical), radiative effects, and lateral effects (interactions between μTECs) in our device, we developed a 3-D finite element model (FEM) using ANSYS®. The FEM analysis identified the optimal distance between μTECs to generate discrete and distinct temperatures within the cells located in the extracellular matrix and thus, generating the optimal design specifications for our device.

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