The Peltier element is a thermoelectric component that transports heat from one electrode to another. The two different semiconductor electrodes are connected by copper wires. The Peltier effect, in which one electrode becomes cold and the other hot, occurs when a voltage is applied to the electrodes, causing the doped semiconductors to change their energy level.
The cold electrode, the coldplate, absorbs heat which is transported to the hot electrode, the hotplate, where it is dissipated. The heat transported to the hotplate can be dissipated by heat sinks and fans.
Peltier elements, which act as a kind of heat pump, are used in computer technology, for example, to cool components such as CPUs. Depending on their size, they have a current consumption of several amperes and operate with temperature differences of around 60°C, and are also known as icecaps.
Thermistors are used to control the Peltier element, via which the control voltages for the Peltier elements are generated. The Peltier effect can be reversed to generate voltage from temperature differences. This effect, known as the Seebeck effect, is used in thermogenerators.