The University of Bristol in southwest England has developed an artificial diamond that generates electricity when placed in a radioactive field.
The technology is unusual because unlike conventional generators the diamond does not have to be moved to create a flow of electrons. This creates the possibility of batteries that could last for thousands of years without needed to be recharged. Â
Tom Scott, a professor of materials science at the university’s Interface Analysis Centre, said: "There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation.
"By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy."
The research team from the university’s cross-disciplinary Cabot Institute have demonstrated a prototype battery using Nickel-63 as the radiation source. They are now working to improve efficiency by using carbon-14, a radioactive isotope that is generated in the graphite blocks used to control reaction speed in nuclear power plants.
The team has found that carbon-14 is concentrated at the surface of these blocks, making it possible to extract it for use in a diamond battery.
Neil Fox, a researcher from the School of Chemistry, said C-14 was chosen as a source material because it emits a short-range radiation that could not escape from the diamond. He said: "Diamond is the hardest substance known to man, so there is literally nothing we could use that could offer more protection."
The half-life of C-14 is 5,730 years, so a battery made from the isotope would last more or less forever. Scott said: "Obvious applications would be in low-power electrical devices where long life of the energy source is needed, such as pacemakers, satellites, high-altitude drones or even spacecraft."
A video explaining the technology can be viewed here.
Image: Batteries are made by putting a radioactive diamond inside a non-radioactive one (Goldworks)
Energy when used it is never ever destroyed it merely transforms itself! So the “so called” nuclear waste is not waste at all since it simply retains its energy in a different form which can then be recycled ,as in this case ,to once again produce a super long term electrical energy supply!!! We can only hope and pray that this great breakthrough is not suppressed but that it be developed to it’s fullest potential!!
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