HFAN-08.2.0: How to Control and Compensate a Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC)

Abstract: The thermoelectric cooler (TEC) is found in many applications that require precision temperature control. Temperature-critical components are integrated with a TEC and a temperature monitor into a single thermally engineered module. TECs can also heat by reversing the current. The small size of the TEC allows precision thermal control of individual components such as fiber-optic laser drivers, precision voltage references, or any temperature-critical device.

This application note briefly discusses the origin and history of TEC design and then presents an overview of basic TEC operation. Issues with TEC control and compensation follow. The article concludes with a detailed analysis and equations for optimizing a TEC.