The change in temperature produced at a junction between two dissimilar metals or semiconductors when an electric current passes through the junction. The direction of the current determines whether the temperature rises or falls. The first metals to be investigated were bismuth and copper; if the current flows from bismuth to copper the temperature rises. If the current is reversed the temperature falls. The effect was discovered in 1834 by the French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier (1785–1845) and has been used recently for small-scale refrigeration. Compare Seebeck effect.
Subjects: Physics — Chemistry.