There seems to be an incredible nuclear battery that could last a century. It could help power everything from pacemakers to a mission in Mars. Wouldn’t it be great to not power any device that requires a battery for more than a year or so? This nuclear battery was unveiled by Russian scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and MISS. They claim that providing relatively low energy over a prolonged time makes nuclear power sources great for applications.
The battery consists of a semiconductor made out of diamond called a Schottky diode powered by beta radiation of electrons and positrons. It has a higher specific energy and is touted to produce ten times the power than regular batteries. Nuclear batteries have been around for a century but are usually bulky for practical use. Other batteries such as galvanic batteries require redox chemical reactions but drain out quick.
How does the nuclear-powered battery work?
The ‘diamond battery’ uses a radioactive isotope such as nickel-63 as a power source.
The isotope decays and fires out high-speed electrons into layers of nickel foil, generating electricity. The amount of power depends on the thickness of the foil.
No maintenance is needed as there are no emissions.
This battery will be essential for space and medical fields such as:
Pacemakers – the nuclear battery boasts about 3,300 milli Watt-hours of power per gram which could power a pacemaker. This could lead to permanent ones that would need no replacement. This would improve the quality of life of patients
Space missions –NASA which is planning long missions to outer space could power colonies on Mars for decades with this nuclear battery. It could save its efforts from experiments and cargo space.