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Evaluation of a Silicon (90)Sr Betavoltaic Power Source

OPEN Scientific reports | 3 Dec 2016

J Dixon, A Rajan, S Bohlemann, D Coso, AD Upadhyaya, A Rohatgi, S Chu, A Majumdar and S Yee
Abstract
Betavoltaic energy converters (i.e., β-batteries) are attractive power sources because of their potential for high energy densities (>200 MWh/kg) and long duration continuous discharge (>1 year). However, conversion efficiencies have been historically low (<3%). High efficiency devices can be achieved by matching β-radiation transport length scales with the device physics length scales. In this work, the efficiency of c-Si devices using high-energy (>1 MeV) electrons emitted from (90)Sr as a power source is investigated. We propose a design for a >10% efficient betavoltaic device, which generates 1 W of power. A Varian Clinac iX is used to simulate the high-energy electrons emitted from (90)Sr, and a high efficiency c-Si photovoltaic cell is used as the converter. The measured conversion efficiency is 16%. This relatively high value is attributed to proper length scale matching and the generation of secondary electrons in c-Si by the primary β-particles.
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Concepts
Fundamental physics concepts, Units of measurement, Energy, Mass, Force, Joule, Electron, Solar cell
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