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Development of chip calorimeter based on Bi/Al thermopile for biological sample measurement

Published Online:pp 281-288

There are numerous biological processes which are related to heat production, and the heat information can be used in various applications, for example the diagnosis of disease or the investigation of antibiotics by measuring metabolism of biological samples. Therefore, it is very useful to develop a device which can measure small amounts of heating power corresponding to sub-microwatt level. In this study, a chip calorimeter is developed which can measure sub-microwatt power level. The size of the chip calorimeter is 8 mm × 10 mm and the chip is designed to have four identical measurement units. In each chip, there is a platinum (Pt) electrode to generate heat in the centre and two thermopiles on both sides of the heater. Thermopile consists of a serial connection of 73 bismuth (Bi) and aluminium (Al) thermopiles. The whole chip unit is inserted in the double thermostat which is maintained within 20 mK using film heater and natural convection with two temperature controllers. The generated heat from the heater was measured with the depicted thermopile and the resolution was found to be less than sub-microwatt. Various methods to improve the heat power resolution are discussed. The developed chip calorimeter can be used for biological research by measuring metabolic heat of cells in the future research.


chip calorimeter, thermopile, biological, metabolic heat, microwatt, calorimetry, channel type calorimeter, Bi/Al thermopile, disease diagnosis