Endless Possibilities with Solid-State Technology

March 11, 2019

Solid-state thermal technology is transforming the way we cool and heat. Commonly-used cooling and heating technologies are now more than a century old, and they’re simply unable to adapt to modern demands.

At Phononic, we are reimagining cooling and heating based on our deep expertise in solid-state thermoelectric devices. Our team of thermal design engineers have spent years perfecting Phononic’s solid-state technology, which can cool and heat easily and sustainably. Our platform got its start in demanding telecom applications, was expanded into refrigeration and freezing for retail (food & beverage sales) and life sciences, and is now ready to serve as a tested, proven launch pad for your next system or application.

We are now helping designers, engineers and industry leaders rethink what has been designed to keep things cool, and hot – to reinvent and explore what’s possible.

Create cooling and heating, with a chip.

Similar to the semiconductor chips in LED lightbulbs, which turn electric current into light energy, solid-state cooling and heating operates by passing current through our small semiconductor chips from one side to the other. LED chips create light; our solid-state chips create cooling and heating.

How? Our chips are put into a cartridge and placed into a robust, reliable package. The heat pump that results is Phononic’s Thermal Engine, and it is the technology that we have spent years improving and making more efficient. By removing the heat from product application area our Thermal Engine creates stable, highly-controllable cooling. And by reversing the direction of current, the flow of heat transfer is also reversed, creating a tightly controlled heated space instead.

Embrace Solid-state Greatness

Why use solid-state? Let us count the reasons.

Boosting Efficiency: Today, sustainability is a key factor in any design project. Phononic’s finely tuned and automated, ISO-certified manufacturing process produces semiconductor chips that generate cooling and heating extremely efficiently. In fact, we deliver best-in-class power efficiencies (up to 30% less). This technology is then packaged into our reliable and durable Thermal Engines. Control systems are built into the cooling and heating product designs built around our Thermal Engines to further maximize efficiency. This technique has enabled us to design the very first ENERGY STAR® certified medical-grade refrigerator.

Miniaturizing with the Market: A common trend across industries is today’s consumers expect to do more in less space. When manufacturing for a small footprint application, the size of every component matters. A semiconductor chip is significantly smaller than the main cooling element of a traditional refrigerator – a bulky, noisy compressor. Eliminating the compressor has allowed us to design refrigerators that offer up to 30% more capacity in the same space, and compact freezers that are as small as a breadbox and can sit on a checkout counter. Phononic’s solid-state compact freezers get cooled and frozen treats — high margin products in the retail world — out of the store perimeter and into the point of sale, allowing retailers and food manufacturers to take the category to the consumer.

Better Product Reliability: In addition to being large and loud, compressors are essentially mechanical devices — making them susceptible to wear and tear — and the most common (and expensive) part of a refrigerator to repair or replace. Solid-state technology has no mechanical parts, requiring no maintenance, which means that our products will be more reliable with less downtime.

We’ve proven it out: in Phononic’s reliability labs, accelerated life testing indicates that our TEC chips will perform through over 2 million rapid power cycles, which simulate a high-stress use case. For a typical refrigerator application, this translates to an expected life of over 13 years! Compare that to 5-10 years for large compressor-based refrigerators and just 2-5 years for a smaller cooler.

And solid-state systems are easier to integrate into the digital world than mechanical compressors since our device control systems collect usage and performance data. This data could fuel more labor-efficient preventive maintenance and virtually eliminate the surprises of a product failure. This data can also provide the type of insights that drive strategic decision making, such as a better understanding of customer purchase patterns for smarter product placement.

Faster Time to Market: In addition to these benefits, the most immediate benefit to designers and engineers may be that you can speed time to market by simplifying development. You don’t need to solve for the temperature control challenge – we’ve already taken care of that. By leveraging our Thermal Engines and the design expertise of our engineering team, your product can get into customers’ hands that much more quickly.

Innovate with Us and Revolutionize How We Cool and Heat

The flexibility and benefits of solid-state technology will make it the inevitable replacement for traditional heating and cooling methods. Our sustainable, solid-state Thermal Engine and integrated systems design expertise will allow engineers and designers to explore new solutions to heating and cooling, reinventing their solutions or even their product categories. Our next-generation thermoelectric technology will enable the creation of new products without the physical limitations and disadvantages of traditional compressor-based cooling or heating technologies.

At Phononic, we like to think of our technology as the element of innovation. We know that the possibilities are limitless. Bring us your challenges and design with us to reimagine products that cool and heat.

Additional Resources

Solid State Refrigeration from Phononic: Learn more about solid-state technology and our accomplishments in medical-grade refrigeration:

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