What is the Peltier effect?
The Peltier effect is a temperature difference created by applying a voltage between two electrodes connected to a sample of semiconductor material. This phenomenon can be useful when it is necessary to transfer heat from one medium to another on a small scale. The Peltier effect is one of three types of thermoelectric effect; the other two are the Seebeck effect and the Thomson effect.
In a Peltier-effect device, the electrodes are typically made of a metal with excellent electrical conductivity. The semiconductor material between the electrodes creates two junctions between dissimilar materials, which, in turn, creates a pair of thermocouplevoltage is applied to the electrodes to force electrical current through the semiconductor, thermal energy flows in the direction of the charge carriers.
Peltier-effect devices are used for thermoelectric cooling in electronic equipment and computers when more conventional cooling methods are impractical.
The Peltier effect is named for its discoverer, French physicist Jean-Charles Athanase Peltier.