Publication Details

This paper originally appeared as: Lee, SP, Lough, BC, Lewis, RA & Zhang, C, Thermionic cooling of optoelectronic and microelectronic devices, COMMAD 2000. Proceedings Conference on Optoelectronic and Microelectronic Materials and Devices, 6-8 December 2000, 415-418. Copyright IEEE 2000.


Solid-state thermionic cooling has gained attention recently because of its potential high cooling power. Thermionic devices based on semiconductor heterostructures utilize the band-edge offset at a heterojunction as the thermionic emission potential barrier and a thin layer to separate the cold and hot junction. In this paper, we present the behavior of thermionic coolers with periodic barriers using gallium arsenide/aluminium gallium arsenide (GaAs/Al/sub x/Ga/sub 1-x/As) semiconductor heterostructures. The exact numerical calculation to model the device performance has shown that the thermal efficiency in a multilayer structure is optimised when the effect of phonon scattering is introduced in the model. Besides, the thermal efficiency depends critically on applied bias.

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