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Researchers have demonstrated a penny-sized "nuclear battery" that produces energy from the decay of radioisotopes.
As radioactive substances decay, they release charged particles that when properly harvested can create an electrical current.
Nuclear batteries have been in use for military and aerospace applications, but are typically far larger.
The University of Missouri team says that the batteries hold a million times as much charge as standard batteries.
Originally posted by anonamousantichrist
could be big news for the auto markets. i can see these being deal changers with regard to electric/battery powered cars in the future. i hope they handle it right, but i doubt they will lol.
Originally posted by Phlynx
Now terrorists can cheaply make small nukes in there backyard!
Originally posted by buddhasystem
The amount of isotope to power a car must be quite significant, hence having it in a car presents a significant risk (such as release in an accident).
Don't let yourself be put off by the name "nuclear" batteries. You would not be coming in contact with a miniaturized nuclear reactor. In fact, once engineered to everyone's satisfaction, they could be much safer than ordinary chemical batteries. The radioactive elements are fairly rare, distributed as they are across a semiconductor, and would be very well insulated. Unlike alkaline batteries, these wouldn't corrode.
The specific energy density from radioactive decay is five orders of magnitude greater than the specific energy density in conventional chemical battery and fuel cell technologies. As a result, radioisotope micro‐power sources (RIMS) hold great promise for the development of small power sources with dimensions consistent with the miniaturization advances being made in microelectromechanical (MEMS) systems. While a number of conversion schemes can be employed in RIMS, betavoltaic conversion technologies are compatible with the semiconductor manufacturing processes used in MEMS. We are currently investigating the use of liquid semiconductors based betavoltaics as a way to avoid the radiation damage that occurs in solid state semiconductor devices due to non‐ionizing energy loss (NIEL). Sulfur‐35 was selected as the isotope for the liquid semiconductor tests because it can be produced in high specific activity and because it is chemically compatible with liquid semiconductor media. Sulfur‐35 is a pure beta emitter with an average beta energy of 49 keV and a half‐life of 87.2 days. It was produced at the University of Missouri Research reactor via the 35Cl(n,p)35S reaction by irradiating potassium chloride discs in a thermal neutron flux of approximately 8x10^13 s‐1·cm‐2. A 150 hour irradiation produced on average 200 mCi per gram of KCl. The 35S was separated from the irradiated target and converted into elemental sulfur. The 35S was then mixed with selenium and incorporated into a liquid semiconductor device fabricated here at the University of Missouri. Results of the separation chemistry and device testing will be presented.
Originally posted by OuttaHere
This technology also could be significant for alternative energy applications. For the ordinary household, solar and wind energy are limited by lack of wind, cloudy days, night time, etc., and the main issue (aside from initial cost) has always been storage of excess energy for use at night and other off-peak production times.
Batteries such as these, with a much higher energy storage capacity, might make storage of large amounts of energy easier for practical home-use alternative energy applications. Certainly it will require less space to store a comparable amount of energy; setting aside a whole room in your house or a large shed on your property to hold gigantic battery banks for storage solar/wind energy might no longer be necessary.