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Isotope Electrical Generators


Physical Principles of Creating the Stationary Electrical Generators on the Basis of Direct Transformation of Radiation Energy of Long-lived Radioactive Isotopes with the Use of Doped Diamond Structure.

Tech Area / Field

  • NNE-EPP/Electric Power Production/Non-Nuclear Energy

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
TRINITI, Russia, Moscow reg., Troitsk

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Project summary

The objective of the project is to work out the basic physical principles and technical foundations of the batteries converting the nuclear energy of long-lived radioactive isotope decay into electrical one. The operation of the suggested batteries is as follows. When ionised by radio-isotope radiation, the gas in the photo-voltaic cell becomes excited and emits in ultra-violate (UV) wavelength range. This UV emission leads to EMF in the doped diamond film. Such a converter has high efficiency and radiation resistance to radioactive environment. Transformers on the basis of traditional semiconducting materials will quickly deteriorate in such units. Charge separating and EMF arising are also possible due to the disturbance of the quasineutrality of the created by radio-isotopes plasma in the region boarding with metal electrodes, b-active isotopes, for instance, Kr85 and Sr90, which have comparatively large half-decay period (»10-20 years), suitable electron energy and practically no g-radiation, may be used as radioactive substances.

Experiments will be carried out on the present experimental equipment belonging to TRINITI and VNIIEF. The main subjects for investigations are the conversion of ionising radiation to UV one in gas medium as well as the transformation of this radiation to electrical current owing to photo-voltaic effect in diamond films. It is for the first time that experiments with real excitation sources willbe carried out.

Investigations comprise the following items:

1) determination both of the efficiency of converting kinetic energy of nuclear particles to UV emission and the requirements to the gas purity in relation to the quenching molecular admixtures (CO2, N2, O2 and etc.);
2) determination of the efficiency of converting UV emission to electricity in different diamond films;
3) developing the technology of doped diamond films by their deposition out of the gas phase during the CVD processes;
4) selection of most suitable long-lived radioactive isotopes (Kr85, Sr90 and etc.);
5) investigating the possibility of direct transformation of nuclear-excited plasma energy to electricity without the use of diamond unit.

Expected results: as a result of the execution of the project physical principles and technical foundations of new batteries, converting nuclear energy immediately to electrical one, with high efficiency, reliability and better weight-overall dimension characteristics in comparison with the existing batteries, are to be worked out. To test the normal operation of the battery and to study its maximal characteristics, the model of the battery with a power of a few Watts will be created. Owing to the results obtained the creation of the real industrial radio-isotope batteries would be possible.

The work on the project will be performed during two staged (1-12 month period and 13-24 month one). During the first stage the preparation of the experimental equipment will be done and the experiments on the investigation of inpidual constituting elements of the battery as well as calculating and theoretical works will be carried out. During the second stage the models of the batteries will be created and studied. The prototype of the industrial electrical battery with a photo-voltaic converter on the base of the diamond film will be developed.

Potential role of the foreign collaborators

The foreign collaborators are the leading specialists in the physics of nuclear-excited plasma. They have put forward the key ideas in the field of converting nuclear energy into electrical one with the use of diamond structures. The close co-operation with them will be of high usefulness for making the objectives of the project. The role of the foreign collaborators will consist in conducting scientific consultations, seminars, joint discussion of the intermediate and final results of the investigations. Professional business trips will be arranged to acquaint with the works on the project and for comparing the results obtained during the course of these works with those from different laboratories.


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