In current times, we are obsessed with the performance of our smart devices and their battery backup. We are eager to find new ways to optimize performance and battery. Power consumption vs performance ratio is the core criterion for the selection of a device. Smart gadget manufacturing companies use this as the core selling feature. They are in a continuous struggle to meet high-end performance with at least 24 hr battery backup for smart devices. On the other hand, the user is also in search of ways to get maximum out of their smart devices. And they always look for a never-dying phone battery but occasionally end up compromising longer battery life for high-end performance, especially in smartwatches and smartphones.
But what if there is a phone battery that never requires charging. What if it can hold a charge up to a decade. Here comes the concept of betavoltaic nuclear batteries. Yes, nuclear batteries. A betavoltaic battery is a nuclear battery that generates electric current using radiations. A piece of a semiconductor such as silicon is placed between 2 electrodes. When the radiation hits the semiconductor, it generates electric flow. Let’s not confuse our selves with nuclear thermal batteries as it works on an entirely different principle.
A little history
Betavoltaic batteries were invented in the early 1970s. Yes, they are that old. They were initially used to powerup pacemakers. The invention of cheaper lithium-ion batteries took over the concept. Lithium-ion batteries are much cheaper and safe in daily human interactions. The initial life span of Betavoltic batteries was two and a half years. Another reason for the commercial reluctance to these batteries was the general fear of radiation. Speaking of safety, these batteries are created using less harmful radioisotopes. Unlink Gamma radiations, Beta radiation can be easily stopped or contained using a thin layer of aluminum.
We are in the year 2020 and having a nuclear battery in the pocket may seem a potential death note to a phone user, who has radioactive material powering up a smartphone.
The good news is that a team of scientists is working on alternate radioisotopes, They are up to create a 1.2 volts betavoltaic battery. They are using Carbon-14 to create a longer-lasting betavoltaic battery. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5700 years and its safe as well, and the prototype is small enough to power a pacemaker.
We hope someday in the near future scientist will be able to create a 5v battery that can power up a smartphone for a decade. Isn’t that great?