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Based on the betavoltaic and alphavoltaic effects, a 4H-SiC micronuclear battery was demonstrated. A Schottky barrier diode, in place of the previously used p-n junction diode, was utilized for carrier separation. A theoretical model was derived to predict the output electrical power. Using beta radioisotope 63Ni and alpha radioisotope 241Am as the radiation sources, the micro nuclear battery was tested and proved to be effective to transfer decay energy into electrical power. The experimental results show that the theoretical model can basically predict the performance of the micronuclear battery. Although the energy conversion efficiencies under illumination of 63Ni and 241Am are only 0.5% and 0.1% at current status, an improvement by an order of magnitude can be expected if the doping concentration of the epilayer can be decreased to the optimal value.
Date of Publication: June 2011