Radiation interaction with materials can have beneficial uses, such as in radioisotope power sources where the ionizing particles provide a direct energy source for conversion into electricity; similar to photovoltaic cells. Radioisotope power sources in the past did not succeed: limited low power applications, rapid semi-conductor degradation, availability and cost of suitable radioisotopes. Now, the power generated is compatible with present electronic devices. Novel and compelling need-based applications for long-life radioisotope power sources are emerging in the military, intelligence, commercial and medical markets. However, the net efficiency is still below 10% due to the isotropic emission and self-shielding losses in the source, electron-hole recombination and interactions of a beta particle. Evaluating the effects of beta particle interaction with a p-n junction is the key to optimizing a betavoltaic cell design. The radioisotope source needs to be safe, robust and affordable; a design using tritium and a modified silicon structure could offer a comprehensive and optimal advance to the state-of-the art.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
Electron and Material Interaction Studies for the Optimization of a Novel Tritium Based Radioisotope Power Source
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Adams, TE, Webster, JA, & Taleyarkhan, RP. "Electron and Material Interaction Studies for the Optimization of a Novel Tritium Based Radioisotope Power Source." Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. Volume 4: Codes, Standards, Licensing and Regulatory Issues; Student Paper Competition. Brussels, Belgium. July 12–16, 2009. pp. 765-773. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE17-76046
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