Thursday, 08 Oct, 2009 Technology
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Latest Invention: Penny-size Nuclear Battery

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Researchers from the University of Missouri are working on their latest invention, which is a small, light radioisotope battery that would serve as a source of nuclear energy.

According to Jae Kwon, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, the battery will be able to generate power density that is 6 orders of magnitude higher compared to chemical batteries.

Currently the latest invention of Kwon and his colleagues is about the size of a penny. The small nuclear battery will be able to power different micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (M/NEMS). There are concerns over such batteries (mainly because of the term "nuclear"), but the lead researcher says that these batteries are safe.

Besides having a small size, the new thing about Kwon's latest invention it that it uses a liquid semiconductor instead of a solid one. "The critical part of using a radioactive battery is that when you harvest the energy, part of the radiation energy can damage the lattice structure of the solid semiconductor" explained the researcher. He added that a liquid semiconductor would reduce the risk of damage, informs Physorg.com.

In future scientists hope to improve the battery's power and make their invention even smaller. In addition, they will try to use other materials when creating a nuclear battery thinner than the thickness of human hair.

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