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Construction of a promethium-147 atomic battery

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3 Author(s)
Flicker, H. ; RCA Laboratories, Princeton, N. J. ; Loferski, J.J. ; Elleman, T.S.

The feasibility of constructing an "atomic battery" by combining the β-emitting radioisotope Pm147and a semiconductor containing a p-n junction has been studied both theoretically and experimentally. The properties of cells made by diffusing a p-type impurity into n-type GaAs, p-impurity into n-type silicon (p/n) and n-impurity into p-type silicon (n/p) are compared. The problems associated with the presence of an alpha emitting impurity (Am147) in the Pm147and with the fabrication of a suitable Pm147source are considered. Experiments with prototype batteries composed of Pm147and n/p silicon cells have led to the conclusion that such batteries would have a half life (1.6 years) somewhat shorter than that of Pm147(2.6 years). Such a battery could generate a few milliwatts of power from a volume of about 2 cubic inches including shielding.

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Electron Devices, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )