Radioisotopic battery with vacuum electrical insulation

J. R. Lee, G. H. Miley, N. Luo, M. Ragheb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Radioisotopic batteries are a good alternative to the conventional chemical batteries for applications requiring a long lifetime with minimum maintenance. For example, thermoelectric type batteries fueled with Pu have been used extensively on NASA space missions. The design of a small beta battery using thallium-204 and a vacuum direct collection method that is intended for powering low voltage electronics in space is described here. Tl is chosen as the source emitter because it can be reirradiated and reused. A vacuum insulation is employed to gain a higher efficiency than prior beta batteries with a dielectric insulator. A zirconium getter film is integrated into the design to maintain the vacuum over long periods of operation. Such batteries are inherently high voltage. However, here a unique voltage downconverter incorporated to efficiently reduce the output voltage from 125 kV to ∼125 V. This converter operates like a "reverse" Marx circuit where capacitor charging occurs in series but the discharge is in parallel. The reference beta battery described here is packaged in a cubic container about 3 cm on a side and has a power of ∼3 mW with a conversion efficiency of ∼17%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - 5th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference
Pages443-455
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Nov 5 2007
Event5th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference - St. Louis, MO, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2007Jun 28 2007

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - 5th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference
Volume1

Other

Other5th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference
CountryUnited States
CitySt. Louis, MO
Period6/25/076/28/07

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)

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  • Cite this

    Lee, J. R., Miley, G. H., Luo, N., & Ragheb, M. (2007). Radioisotopic battery with vacuum electrical insulation. In Collection of Technical Papers - 5th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference (pp. 443-455). (Collection of Technical Papers - 5th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference; Vol. 1).