We work with UNSW researchers in ACSER (Australian Centre Space Engineering Research) and SPREE (School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering) developing novel space power cells based on betavoltaics. Nuclear power systems are attractive for certain applications in space, such as delivering power in shadowed locations, under low light or operating far from the sun.
One area seeing recent resurgence is direct conversion of beta radiation to electrical power, so-called betavoltaics. Objectives of this research are modelling radiation transport through novel device architectures and improving radiation tolerance of semiconductors.
The technology offers an attractive route for recycling or nuclear ‘waste’ into functional products, with widespread terrestrial applications as well.