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Nuclear Battery to be Used in Mobiles, Vehicles, Pacemakers: May Last for Decades

Author : OdishaTodayBureau | Posted on: 2019-05-28

Nuclear batteries can last for over a century without recharging!


Would you use a smartphone or electric vehicle powered by nuclear batteries?




Or may be a nuclear-powered pacemaker that never needs changing?


Russian researchers developed a nuclear battery design based on a radioactive element that has a half-life of over 100 years.




This means that any device having this nuclear battery won’t need recharging for over a century.


And that’s not all, this battery produces 10 times the power of a traditional chemical cell.


For people who use smartphones and other smart devices 24/7 and are tired of constant recharging, this might be good news. And let’s be honest – that’s most of us.




What’s better news is that there is no need to panic.


This nuclear battery does not contain any mini nuclear reactor inside it.

 

So, lets see how does it work?

Nuclear batteries work through a process known as betavoltaics to produce electricity.


As the names implies, it generates power from the decay of beta particles.


A radioactive source inside the device decays and emits beta particles and when these interact with a semiconductor layer, they can create an electric current.




The prototype design is based on a radioactive isotope nickel-63 and a semiconductor made out of diamond.


The nickel-63 isotope fires high-speed electrons into nickel foil, generating electricity.


This nuclear battery boasts about 3,300 milliWatt-hours of power per gram and continues producing powers for 100 years because this is the length of nickel-63’s half-life.


Batteries powered by radioactive materials have been around for more than a century, before more advanced methods, such as lithium-ion, arrived.


Previously, researchers developed a nuclear battery that used a radioactive isotope strontium-90 that splits water molecules to produce electricity and the Nano Tritium battery with a 20-year lifetime.


This sort of technology would be ideal for powering things you can’t or would rather not – access often, such as pacemakers.


Now you might be thinking that carrying a mobile device 24/7 packed full of radioactive material is a bad idea, especially because beta radiation can cause cancer and death.




But beta radiation can be easily stopped with a thin piece of aluminium, and this makes beta radiation much easier to control.


Just make sure the betavoltaic nuclear battery casing is more than a couple of millimeters thick – and try not to drop it. Like…ever.


Even though we can control beta radiations, it will sometime before we can see commercial nuclear batteries in market.


Marketing a nuclear-powered pacemaker in today’s world would demand more than a catchy news ad.




A lot of public education needs to be done before potential clients will feel comfortable using this technology.


For now, nuclear batteries will probably only be used in military and space applications.


Space agencies planning long trips will need to develop small power sources that don’t need replacing in order to save on cargo space.


Still, it would be nice to have a smartphone that never once needs recharging.


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