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Start-up spotlight: Micropelt

19 Oct 2007

Technology based on semiconductor manufacturing allows a German start-up to produce extremely small thermoelectric coolers.

What is Micropelt’s core technology?
“We have developed a patented, scalable semiconductor platform technology to produce miniaturized thermoelectric coolers (TECs), including sputtering, annealing, photolithography, etching and device-bonding processes,” business development VP Burkhard Habbe told optics.org.

What products do Micropelt sell?
Miniaturized thermoelectric coolers and thermal-power harvesting devices, using the Peltier effect or the Seebeck effect respectively. “Micropelt TECs are smaller than conventional designs, and demonstrate ten times the cooling power density and 100 times faster response times,” said Habbe. “Our automated fabrication process produces high volumes while also reducing production costs through economies of scale.”

What application areas does Micropelt target?
“Our TECs can be used in markets where microelectronic cooling or heating is needed, such as life sciences, wireless, lasers, photonics, sensors and electronics,” Habbe said. “Supplying power to sensors located in areas with difficult or no access is also a strong application.”

The company targets four markets in particular:
• Thermal cycling for polymerase chain reaction and similar applications in biological and chemical environments, especially lab-on-a-chip.
• Power generation from excess heat, as a sustainable, "eternal" power source for wireless sensors in industrial.
• Laser cooling and temperature stabilisation of active and passive photonic elements in spectroscopy sensors and telecom applications.
• Electronic cooling (chip spot cooling) for direct heat removal from specific hot spots on silicon chips.

What were the origins of the company?
“Micropelt is a result of research cooperation between German chipmaker Infineon Technologies and the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques in Freiburg, Germany,” Habbe explained. “The company was founded in 2006 under a management buy-out from Infineon, in which most of the R&D project team joined Micropelt. The company currently employs 16 full-time staff, along with additional part-time support from Fraunhofer IPM.”

Quick facts
Funding: Micropelt is funded by €5 million Serie A venture capital funding from SHS, MBG, KfW, Infineon and L-Bank.

Micropelt GmbH
Emmy-Noether-Str. 2
79110 Freiburg

Telephone: +49 (0) 761 156 337 0
Email: info@micropelt.com
Web: www.micropelt.com

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