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Researchers from Russia’s National University of Science and Technology Develop a Compact, Long-Life Battery

September 19, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

Scientists from Russia develop a powerful, compact battery that is able to function for up to 20 years.

Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST MISIS) in Moscow, Russia, have created an atomic battery that significantly increases power, all the while maintaining a space-saving, compact size. The specially designed structure of the battery is the key to its successful performance efficiency. 

 

NUST MISIS beta-voltaic battery technology. Image courtesy of NUST MISIS 
NUST MISIS beta-voltaic battery technology. Image courtesy of NUST MISIS 

 

A Breakthrough Radioactive Battery

The battery itself incorporates beta-voltaic cells (BVEs). The original patented microchannel 3D structure is designed with the radioactive nickel beta-voltaic element. This special structure promotes the increase in the effective conversion area of the beta radiation by 14 times. This process then increases the overall current. The nickel element is applied on both sides of the planar p-n junction. 

Not only does this format simplify the cell manufacturing technology, but it also simplifies the control of the reverse current that takes the battery power. 

The development of this beta-voltaic battery technology will enable the specific power of batteries based on it to be increased by an order of magnitude, the dimensions are also able to be decreased by three times, and the required output power level can still be effectively maintained. 


NUST MISIS Researchers develop an economic battery with 10 times more power. Image courtesy of NUST MISIS.
NUST MISIS Researchers develop an economic battery with 10 times more power. Image courtesy of NUST MISIS.

 

Associate Professor of the Department of Semiconductor Electronics and Physics semiconductors at NUST MISIS, Sergey Legotin, provided more details concerning the breakthrough battery technology in a news release published last month: "The output electrical parameters of the proposed design were: short-circuit current IKZ - 230 nA /cm2 (in the usual planar construction - 24 nA), the final power - 31nW /cm2, (in the planar one - 3nW). The design allows to increase the efficiency of converting the energy released during the decay of a β-source into electricity by an order of magnitude, which in the future will reduce the cost of the source by about 50% due to the rational use of an expensive radioisotope.”

At present, the NUST MISIS researchers do not have an international patent for the technology and are doing the groundwork to get this secured. The demand for a long-life battery like this one is high across all global markets. 

The international marketing research agency Research and Markets has provided an insightful review that heralded NUST MISIS as one of the key players in advancing the growth of the global beta-voltaic batteries market. With a long cycle life, small size, and safety, the nickel-based battery and its further development will certainly enable the NUST MISIS scientists to make a significant change to the power supply market.

The beta-voltaic battery can be used in a number of ways, such as a temperature sensor in devices able to withstand extreme temperatures, as an emergency power supply, and in remote areas or those that are difficult to access (e.g. space, underwater, in high-altitude areas).