International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.44, No.1, 508-517, 2020
Designing performance enhanced nuclear battery based on the Cd-109 radioactive source
A dual-effect nuclear battery based on the radio-voltaic and radioluminescence effect was developed, which has the ability to convert nuclear energy into electrical energy with two different modes. Performance-enhanced nuclear batteries are mainly based on the addition of ZnS:Cu radio-luminescent layer to Cd-109 X-ray radioactive source and GaAs radio-voltaic layer. In order to explore the response relationship between the mode of energy conversion and the electrical performance of nuclear battery, the physical model was established to research the deposition energy distribution by using Monte Carlo method. The addition of the radio-luminescent material increases the effective energy deposition of the X-rays and the optimized thickness of ZnS:Cu in such a dual-effect nuclear battery should be set to 560 mu m. The current-voltage characteristic curves of the batteries before and after performance optimization were utilized to investigate the electrical properties. Through a comprehensive comparison of Cd-109 nuclear batteries with or without radio-luminescent layer, the simulated results are consistent with experimental results. The results indicate that the electrical performance of dual-effect nuclear battery is significantly higher than that of single radio-voltaic nuclear battery. Moreover, the energy conversion efficiency increases from 0.079% (single radio-voltaic nuclear battery) to 0.119% (dual-effect nuclear battery). The improved performance of the dual-effect nuclear battery provides potential applications for space-based autonomous remote sensors and continuous low-power generation technologies.