Optoelectronics

Thermoelectric coolers for laser projector performance

16th November 2020
Alex Lynn

Offering precise temperature control, ambient liquid cooling systems featuring thermoelectric coolers are well suited for spot cooling of laser projector applications. The new Ultra TEC UTX product series offers a ten percent boost in heat pumping capacity, greater temperature differential and higher efficiency than standard thermoelectric coolers.

Outdoor light shows and cinemas utilise laser projection technology to deliver high-quality images with sharp contrasts, exceptional brightness and a wide colour range. Because heat load in each laser can be more than 100 Watts it must be quickly dissipated away to protect sensitive optoelectronic components.

Compared to traditional lamp projectors, laser projectors are more energy-efficient, provide brighter and sharper images and can project at farther distances. However, designers are tasked with integrating proper thermal management to dissipate the large amount of heat generated by the lasers.

Compressor-based refrigeration systems that cool sensitive laser electronics with fluids are commonly used for thermal management, however, this type of closed-loop system design loses thermal control as the fluids come closer to the heat source. On the other hand, ambient liquid systems that incorporate thermoelectric coolers in the cooling loop enable spot cooling of the laser for more precise temperature control.

By utilising the Peltier effect, thermoelectric coolers actively move heat away from sensitive optoelectronics. Given their solid-state operation, thermoelectric coolers significantly reduce maintenance and the total cost of ownership for laser projection systems. To manage the large amount of heat travelling through a small surface area, high capacity thermoelectric coolers will be required.

Assembled with advanced thermoelectric materials, the new UltraTEC UTX thermoelectric cooler from Laird Thermal Systems delivers a cooling capacity of up to 296 Watts. The proprietary module construction features a higher thermal insulating barrier creating a maximum temperature differential of up to 72°C.

"Laser projector OEM’s tend to use ambient liquid systems featuring thermoelectric coolers because they are less complex, more reliable and less expensive than conventional compressor-based technologies," said Andrew Dereka Product Director at Laird Thermal Systems. "Through advanced break throughs in materials sciences, our new premium UltraTEC UTX can achieve greater heat pumping capacities and are more efficient than standard thermoelectric coolers."

The UltraTEC UTX Series is offered in 13 models covering various footprints, capacities, configurations and voltage inputs.

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