Nuclear Batteries that are More Efficient than Existing Betavoltaic Batteries

Technology #14778

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Categories
Researchers
Juan Nino
Paul M. Johns
James Edward Baciak
Managed By
Lenny Terry
Assistant Director 352-392-8929

A Radionuclide Nanoencapsulation (RANA) Design Increases Electrical Current Generation

These RANA batteries carry out more efficient energy conversion than available betavoltaic batteries and their long lifespans allow them to power implantable medical devices, including pacemakers. Like other nuclear batteries, they include a radiation source that works with other materials to convert decay energy into an electric current. While the typical betavoltaic battery has a layered structure of alternating plates of radioisotopes, decay energy converters, and photovoltaic (PV) cells, these new batteries, developed by University of Florida researchers, do not require alternating sheets. The RANA batteries are conformable, easy to manufacture, and offer more efficient energy conversion, making them attractive components for biotechnology applications. The lifespan of an in vivo bioimplant fitted with a RANA battery can exceed one hundred years.

Application

Nuclear batteries that carry out more efficient energy conversion to power implantable medical devices, including pacemakers

Advantages

  • Features increased surface area for more photovoltaic interaction, increasing geometric efficiency
  • Can be conformed in a variety of different shapes, maximizing versatility
  • Boosts electric current generation, providing a competitive advantage over betavoltaic designs

Technology

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed more efficient nuclear batteries by encapsulating select radioactive nuclides within materials that can either convert or multiply radioisotope decay emissions into photons, which then interact with organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells. The OPV electricity generation mechanism is similar to conventional solar cells with the exception that the photons are initiated by the decay of a radioisotope. Depending on the source radionuclide, the decay process used in these batteries can be beta (electron emission) or gamma (photon emission). Doping the radioactive beta or gamma emitters directly into the photon conversion material and dispersing the particles into a translucent medium eliminates several of the major efficiency loss mechanisms found in traditional multi-layered designs.