Nuclear battery?

Written by willbe in Tech news

A new type of battery based on the radioactive decay of nuclear material is 10 times more powerful than similar prototypes and should last 10-12 years without a charge, scientists announced rewcently.

The longevity would make the battery ideal for use in pacemakers or other surgically implanted devices, developers say, or it might power spacecraft or deep-sea probes.

The technology is called betavoltaics. It uses a silicon wafer to capture electrons emitted by a radioactive gas, such as tritium. It is similar to the mechanics of converting sunlight into electricity in a solar panel.

Until now, betavoltaics has been unable to match solar-cell efficiency. The reason is simple: When the gas decays, its electrons shoot out in all directions. Many of them are lost.

Now the flat silicon surface, where the electrons are captured and converted to a current, was turned it into a three-dimensional surface by adding deep pits. Each pit is about one micron wide. That’s four ten-thousandths of an inch. They’re more than 40 microns deep.

Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen. It is safe and can be implanted in the body. Tritium emits only low energy particles that can be shielded by very thin materials, such as a sheet of paper, so hermetically-sealed, metallic battery case will encapsulate the entire radioactive energy source.

Don’t expect anything on the store shelves for at least 2-5 years, this is a period for technology to be adopted.

Based on LiveScience article.

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