National Institute of Technology, Warangal.
For several decades, electronic circuitry has been shrinking at a famously dizzying pace. Too badthe batteries that typically power those circuits have not managed to get much smaller at all. Intoday’s wrist-worn GPS-receivers, matchbox size digital camera, and pocket able computers,MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems), batteries are a significant portion of the volume (bysize and weight even). And yet they don’t provide nearly enough energy, conking out seemingly atthe worst possible moment reason being batteries are still cans of chemicals functioning essentiallythe same way as they did two centuries ago.
What does it provide?
The research groups at Cornell University and University of Wisconsin have been working on away around this power source roadblock: harvesting the incredible amount of energy releasednaturally by tiny bits of radioactive material. The micro scale generators that are underdevelopment are not nuclear reactors in miniature, and they don’t involve fission or fusionreactions. All energy comes from high energy particles spontaneously emitted by radioactiveelements. These devices use thin radioactive films that pack in energy at densities
thousands of times
greater than those of Lithium Polymer batteries (see table).
TECHNOLOGY ENERGY DENSITY(milliwatt-hours/milligram)
Li Ion in a chemical battery 0.3Methanol in fuel cell 3Tritium in a nuclear battery 850Polonium-210 in a nuclear battery 57000