The structure of thermoelectric modules is generally described as elements of n and p type thermoelectric material sandwiched between two ceramic plates and connected in series. The elements are solid-state, vibration-free, noise-free heat pumps, which move heat from one surface to another when a direct current electricity is applied on it. If the heat at the hot side is dissipated to the ambient environment by a heat sink, this assembly becomes a cooling unit. Not only used for heat transfer, thermoelectric modules are widely used to generate electrical power by converting heat energy to electrical current which allows for waste heat recovery. Many new, promising thermoelectric generating materials have been developed in recent years, contributing significantly in increasing power generation efficiency.
Featuring no moving parts, being small in size and light in weight, the thermoelectric module is widely used in military, medical, industrial, consumer, scientific/laboratory, electro-optic and telecommunications areas for cooling, heating, and power generation..