For the first time, water could be used as an alternative media to convert energy from radioisotopes, a new study revealed.
Researchers from the University of Missouri have successfully created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used in many applications using a water-based solution.
“Betavoltaics, a battery technology that generates power from radiation, has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s. This conventional energy conversion using radioisotopes has almost exclusively focused on solid-state materials. However, in this study, a liquid media, which in this case – water is used to demonstrate an effective energy conversion from radioisotopes, said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer and nuclear engineering in the College of Engineering at MU.
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The new (developed) battery uses a radioactive isotope called strontium-90 that boosts electrochemical energy in a water-based solution. It has a nanostructured titanium dioxide electrode (the common element found in sunscreens and UV blockers) with a platinum coating that collects and effectively converts energy into electrons.
“Water acts as a buffer and surface plasmons in the device and turned out to be a very useful in increasing battery efficiency,” Kwon said. “The ionic solution working in wide variety of applications including car batteries and, if packaged properly, perhaps in spacecraft.”
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Would it be possible to charge cellphone by just soaking it into a glass of water, in the near future?