Radioisotope powered energy source

Compact energy source capable of supplying low levels of energy for a relatively long period of time


Graphic of batteriesPhotovoltaic (PV) solar panels convert sunlight into energy. When radiation strikes the surface of a PV cell the energy is converted on the atomic level to electricity.

Conversion efficiency rates range from 8 to 45 percent depending on the quality of the cell. And most PV cells are single-junction devices, meaning they convert one range of wavelengths of light into energy.

This Navy innovation builds on existing solar technology by storing the emission source inside the solar cell. Instead of using the sun’s radiation, the technology uses reactive material at its core. Single-junction solar cell materials encase a core consisting of X-ray isotopes that convert the radiation to electricity.

The technology may find utility in backup power systems, primary power system for isolated areas, micro-scale battery systems, consumer products, aviation, and automotive applications.

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