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Need for compact reliable light weight and

self-contained power supplies.

Chemical batteries require frequent
replacements and are bulky.
Nuclear reactors offer economical and
technical problems.
Fuel and Solar cells are expensive and
requires sunlight respectively.

Nuclear batteries have lifespan upto decades

and nearly 200 times more efficient.

Do not rely on nuclear reaction , so no
radioactive wastes.
Uses emissions from radioactive isotope to
generate electricity.
Can be used in inaccessible and extreme

Idea was introduced in 1950 and patented to

Tracer Lab.
Radioisotope electric power system developed
by Paul Brown.
He organized an approach to harness energy
from the magnetic field of alpha and beta
particles using Radium-226.
Low efficiency due to loss of electrons.

Alternative energy technology.
Provides extended battery life and power

Uses energy from beta particles.
Beta particles from radioactive gas captured in
Si wafer coated with diode material.
Absorbed radiation creates electron-hole pair.
Results in the generation of electric current.

Representation of basic beta voltaic


The Energy Conversion

Before the radioactive source is introduced , no

current flows as the electrical forces are in

As a beta emitter is introduced , electrons are
knocked out by its energy.
Generates electron-hole pairs in the junction.
When beta particle imparts more than ionization
potential the electron rises to a higher level.

Fermi voltage established between the electrodes.

Potential difference drives electrons from electrode

A through the load where they give up the energy.

Electron is then driven into electrode B to
recombine with a junction ion.
Betavoltaics does not have solar-cell efficiency.
Electrons shoot out in all directions; hence lost.
Porous Si diodes with pits provide a 3-D surface
thereby increasing the efficiency.

Direct charging generators:

Primary generator consists of LC tank circuit.
Energy from radioactive decay products

sustain and amplify oscillations.

Circuit impedance has coil wound on a core
composed of radioactive elements.
Decay by alpha emission; hence greater flux
of radioactive decay.

Schematic Diagram of an LC resonant


3 capacitor
5 inductor
9 transformer T primary winding
11 resistance
7 core with radioactive elements

Oscillations induced in LCR circuit damp out due to

loss of energy.
Here energy is imparted to the alpha particles
during the decay of elements in the core.
This energy is introduced to circuit when alpha
particles are absorbed by the inductor.
Oscillations sustain until amount of energy
absorbed=amount of energy dissipated in ohmic
This excess energy is delivered to the load
connected across transformer T secondary

Avoiding gamma rays in decay chain.
Ra-226 produces Bi-214.
Strong gamma radiation.
Shielding makes it bulky.
Half life.
Particle range.

Life span- minimum of 10 years.
Reliable electricity.
Amount of energy highest.
Lighter with high energy density.
Efficient; less waste generation.
Reduces green house and associated effects.
Fuel used is the nuclear waste from nuclear


Space applications:

Unaffected by long period of darkness and

radiation belts like Van-Allen belt.
Compact and lighter in weight.
Can avoid heating equipments required for
storage batteries.
High power for long time independent of
atmospheric conditions.
NASA is trying to harness this technology in
space applications.

Medical applications:

In Cardiac pacemakers
Batteries should have reliability and longevity
to avoid frequent replacements.
Mobile devices:
Nuclear powered laptop battery Xcell-N has
7000-8000 times more life.
No need for charging, battery replacing.


In initial stages.
No running short of fuel.
Possibility of replacing ionic fuels with its advantages.
Under-water sea probes and sea sensors:
In sensors working for long time.
At inaccessible and extreme conditions.
Use in coal mines and polar sensor applications too.
For powering MEMS devices : in optical switches and
smart dust sensors.

High initial cost of production as its in the

experimental stage
Energy conversion methodologies are not
much advanced.
Regional and country-specific laws regarding
use and disposal of radioactive fuels.
To gain social acceptance.

Small compact devices of future require small

Nuclear batteries increase functionality,
reliability and longevity.
Until final disposal all Radiation Protection
Standards must be met.
Batteries of the near future.