In a groundbreaking move, Beijing-based startup, Betavolt, has introduced a nuclear battery that claims to generate electricity for an astounding 50 years without the need for charging or maintenance. The company claims that its nuclear battery, powered by 63 nuclear isotopes, is the world’s first to achieve the miniaturization of atomic energy, fitting into a module smaller than a coin. The technology converts the energy released from decaying isotopes into electricity. This concept was initially explored in the 20th century and is now realized by Betavolt.
Betavolt’s first nuclear battery measures 15x15x5 cubic millimeters. It delivers 100 microwatts of power and has a voltage of 3V. To create this revolutionary battery, Betavolt used nickel-63, a radioactive element, as the energy source. Moreover, they employed diamond semiconductors to convert the energy. The team developed a thin single-crystal diamond semiconductor, only 10 microns thick, and placed a 2-micron-thick nickel-63 sheet between two diamond semiconductor converters. The decay energy of the radioactive source is then converted into electrical current.
Betavolt revealed that their next-generation nuclear battery has already entered the pilot testing stage, with plans for mass production in the near future. The company envisions widespread commercial applications, including phones and drones. Besides, nuclear batteries could revolutionize power supply in various scenarios such as aerospace, artificial intelligence (AI) equipment, medical devices, microprocessors, advanced sensors, small drones, and micro-robots.
In a statement, Betavolt claimed that their atomic energy batteries could provide China with a leading edge in the upcoming AI technological revolution. By offering long-lasting power supply solutions, these nuclear batteries could potentially transform industries and redefine the capabilities of electronic devices.
The company plans to further enhance its capabilities, aiming to produce a nuclear battery with 1 watt of power by 2025. The small size allows for the possibility of using these batteries in series to generate more power. Hence, Betavolt envisions a future where mobile phones never need charging, and drones can operate indefinitely.
Safety and environmental impact
Addressing safety concerns, Betavolt assures that its atomic energy battery is safe, with no external radiation. Notably, Betavolt’s nuclear battery is also more secure compared to conventional batteries. The company claims that the battery’s layered structure prevents the battery from catching fire or exploding when subjected to sudden force. Additionally, the battery can operate in a wide temperature range, from -60 degrees Celsius to 120 degrees Celsius.
The company suggests potential use in medical devices like pacemakers, artificial hearts, and cochlear implants within the human body. Additionally, Betavolt emphasizes the environmental friendliness of their nuclear batteries. The 63 isotopes in the battery decay into a stable, non-radioactive isotope of copper after the designated period, posing no threat or pollution to the environment.
In a world increasingly reliant on technology, Betavolt’s nuclear battery innovation could pave the way for a future where devices operate continuously without the need for recharging, marking a significant leap in the field of energy technology. As Betavolt progresses towards mass production, the implications of their nuclear battery could extend far beyond the boundaries of the tech industry, offering a glimpse into a new era of sustainable, long-lasting power solutions.