Tiny nuclear battery unveiled by researchers

Researchers at the University of Missouri have unveiled tiny nuclear batteries that produce power from the decay of radioisotopes. Although such batteries are currently used in devices such as pacemakers and satellites, they are costly, large and heavy - something which these new penny-sized batteries are not.

Developed by a research team led by Dr Jae Wan Kwon, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri University, the team's innovation in creating the battery is not only its size, but its semi-conductor, which is liquid instead of solid.

"The critical part of using a radioactive battery is that when you harvest the energy, part of the radiation energy can damage the lattice structure of the solid semiconductor," Dr Jae explained. "By using a liquid semiconductor, we believe we can minimize that problem."

So what about the risk of nuclear meltdown? There is none. Although nuclear batteries generate electricity from atomic energy, there is no chain reaction involved, instead using the emissions from a radioactive isotope.

"People hear the word 'nuclear' and think of something very dangerous," said Dr Jae. "However, nuclear power sources have already been safely powering a variety of devices, such as pacemakers, space satellites and underwater systems."

The team now hopes to increase the power of the battery, as well as decrease the size of it further - it could be made thinner than a human hair.


Image source: Gizmag.com

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actually they will not be able to explode because there is no chain reaction going on like you have in a power plant or bomb. I would be more worried about radiation leaking out of the battery into you.

Yeah, even if it's generally safe I don't think it'd be a good idea to have them in a laptop, sitting near your testicles for hours every day.

Darrian said,
Yeah, even if it's generally safe I don't think it'd be a good idea to have them in a laptop, sitting near your testicles for hours every day.

HAHAHAHAHA

Why havnt you got your homework?
Well my phone exploded and it was vapourised. :P

You know kids will come up with some amazing excuses from this one hahaha

Did you do your homework Johnny?

I did but my phone had a nuclear meltdown and burned down my entire neighborhood..

That was you????

yea... that was me..

Oh well your excused then, be more careful next time...

(all the kids complain)

When you burn down your neighborhood, I'll excuse you to, now quiet down..

What are these batteries geared towards? I imagine these are not the rechargeable kind. But if it were, sure would beat the quantity of the toxic battery material currently entering our landfills.

This is cool. For critical devices, such as the mentioned pacemaker, could help reduce their size. Drug delivery systems being implanted under the skin comes to mind.

It reminded me of this company - Hyperion.... Not quite the same, but harnessing the benefits of nuclear power (both fission and decay), is a good step to getting off oil.

Keep pushing the tech!

I dont know how long these things last but imagine going to the dealer and buying a car that you never have to worry about fueling.

120 said,
I dont know how long these things last but imagine going to the dealer and buying a car that you never have to worry about fueling.

I'd be just as excited if I bought a cell phone that I never needed to charge... LOL What a happy day that would be!

Battery tech is one of the big roadblocks to alternative energy sources. One issue I have with the green energy people is that they seem to live under the impression that pulling on the grass helps it to grow.

Dashel said,
Battery tech is one of the big roadblocks to alternative energy sources. One issue I have with the green energy people is that they seem to live under the impression that pulling on the grass helps it to grow.


It is a very big roadblock, and this one won't help at all.... because it can't be charged and therefore can't be used to store generated alternative energy.

What happen if you collect hundreds of 'tiny nuclear batteries' together and then put them on fire?

very dangerous.

Strike X said,
What happen if you collect hundreds of 'tiny nuclear batteries' together and then put them on fire?

very dangerous.

You've been watching too much Faux News.

people saying these kind of batteries can be used for powering mobile devices have no clue. They only generate a tiny current

XerXis said,
people saying these kind of batteries can be used for powering mobile devices have no clue. They only generate a tiny current


way to burst my bubble
guess ill go charge my phone now

XerXis said,
people saying these kind of batteries can be used for powering mobile devices have no clue. They only generate a tiny current

You have to start somewhere.

XerXis said,
people saying these kind of batteries can be used for powering mobile devices have no clue. They only generate a tiny current

The same was probably said for the batteries we use these days.

See, I don't really care about the nuclear side of things. If it makes my stuff last twice as long or more, probably worth it. If it'll only make it last a few more hours/days/weeks then no point!

Well, I won't see any of it since my country is nuclear free.

Got to imagine all the damn greenies and those living in the past protesting all day and night about it if we introduced it.

That is AMAZING... The things that they'll be able to do in the future. For batteries and such in particular I can't wait. That's my biggest complaint with electronics anymore. They do amazing things, but not for long enough. LOL

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