Cornell researchers sense potential of atomic batteries

Dec. 2, 2002 — Cornell University researchers said they have developed a microscopic device that could supply power for decades to remote battlefield sensors or implantable medical devices.

The battery draws its energy from a radioactive isotope, and will work in a wide range of temperatures. The device converts the energy stored in the radioactive material directly into motion, according to a news release.

A large-scale prototype consists of a copper strip 1 millimeter wide, 2 centimeters long and 60 micrometers thick on a cantilever, or microscopic diving board, above a thin film of radioactive nickel. A smaller prototype under development crams the working parts inside a cube less than 1 millimeter on each side.


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