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Design of Alpha Voltaic Power Source Using Americium 241 (241Am) and Diamond with a Power Density of 10 mW/cm3

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Technical Report,19 Jun 2017,25 Aug 2017

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US Army Research Laboratory Adelphi United States

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Long-lived isotope power sources can provide remotely located sensors and communications nodes with decades of power. Beta-voltaic power sources have been developed for the nanowatt and microwatt power levels. The use of alpha emitters alphavoltaics would increase the energy output by a factor of 100 using the same size, weight, and packaging. Wide band-gap radiation-tolerant semiconductors diamond, gallium nitride, and silicon carbide are evaluated in order to convert the 5-MeV alpha decays into electrical current. Alpha energy deposition in diamond and gallium nitride GaN was calculated and compared. Alpha-voltaic energy converters were designed in diamond and GaN based on the energy deposition calculations. Diamond p p structures of 9-m thickness each would place the depletion region at the maximum energy deposition location. The device structures are described.

Subject Categories:

  • Electric Power Production and Distribution

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