By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Senior Writer
A new type of battery based on the radioactive decay of nuclear material is 10 times more powerful than similar prototypes and should last a decade or more without a charge, scientists announced this week. The longevity would make the battery ideal for use in pacemakers or other surgically implanted devices, developers say, or it might power spacecraft or deep-sea probes. The technology behind it is called betavoltaics. It uses a silicon wafer to capture electrons emitted by a radioactive gas, such as tritium. It is similar to the mechanics of converting sunlight into electricity in a solar panel.
You might also find these nuclear batteries running sensors and other small devices in your home in a few years. Such devices “don’t consume much power,” said University of Rochester electrical engineer Philippe Fauchet, “and yet having to replace the battery every so often is a real pain in the neck.” Fauchet told LiveScience the batteries could last a dozen years. They’re being developed at Rochester and the technology has been licensed by BetaBatt Inc.
Read the rest of the article at news.yahoo.com.