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Saturday, May 14, 2005

New 'BetaBatteries' May Provide Power for Decades
Imagine a day when you never have to recharge your cellphone battery? It might become true. According to this news release from the National Science Foundation (NSF), American researchers have developed a porous-silicon diode that "convert low levels of radiation into electricity and can have useful lives spanning several decades."

The new 'BetaBattery' is more efficient than conventional chemical batteries and potentially cheap to manufacture. It uses a radioactive source as its fuel, the tritium, an hydrogen isotope. When the tritium releases electrons in a process called beta decay, the 'BetaBattery' generates electricity by absorbing these electrons.

So far, the 'BetaBattery' doesn't deliver as much power as chemical batteries, but it could be extremely useful to power devices which have a long life and are difficult to service, such as structural sensors in bridges and satellites. This overview contains other details and references and includes a picture of the special wafer used to design the 'BetaBattery.'
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 3:33 PM Comments (0)
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