Thermoelectric protection for outdoor CMOS sensors 

Thermoelectric protection for outdoor CMOS sensors 

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By Nick Flaherty

Recent advances in CMOS sensor technology have made these sensors practical and effective for use in a wide range of imaging applications found in autonomous systems, machine vision and learning, high-end scientific cameras, and more. 

Thermal noise causes CMOS sensors to lose image resolution as temperature increases. This can occur in many outdoor applications, where heat generated by surrounding electronics exceeds the maximum operating temperature of the CMOS sensor. To prevent image quality from deteriorating, high temperature Peltier coolers can reduce the sensor’s temperature, maintaining acceptable noise levels.

The HiTemp ET Series thermoelectric modules deliver spot cooling to ensure optimum CMOS sensor performance without degrading in high heat environments. To meet a broad range of design requirements, the HiTemp ET Series includes 53 models offering a variety of heat pumping capacities, geometric form factors and input voltages. 

The Peltier module construction prevents copper diffusion and degradation in performance, which can occur in standard grade thermoelectric modules in higher temperature environments. This allows a high coefficient of performance (COP) allowing for maximum heat removal into the air. 

“As CMOS sensors are incorporated into new emerging applications for outdoor environments, thermal management becomes more important to keep sensors below their maximum operating temperature limit,” said Andrew Dereka, Product Director at Laird Thermal Systems. “Spot cooling that features a thermoelectric module provides an active cooling solution that allows these critical sensors to maintain maximum image resolution for their application.”

The range provides active cooling for applications operating in temperatures ranging from 80 to 150 °C, the HiTemp ET Series offers a cooling capacity of more than 300W with precise temperature control accuracy achieving ±0.01°C.

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