Kwon and his research team have been working on building a small nuclear battery, currently the size and thickness of a penny, intended to power various micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (M/NEMS). Although nuclear batteries can pose concerns, Kwon said they are safe.Best of luck to the MU researchers and hat tip to Next Big Future who we've been reading for quite some time and realized he wasn't even on our blogroll yet! Now he is.
“People hear the word ‘nuclear’ and think of something very dangerous,” he said. “However, nuclear power sources have already been safely powering a variety of devices, such as pace-makers, space satellites and underwater systems.”
His innovation is not only in the battery’s size, but also in its semiconductor. Kwon’s battery uses a liquid semiconductor rather than a solid semiconductor.
“The critical part of using a radioactive battery is that when you harvest the energy, part of the radiation energy can damage the lattice structure of the solid semiconductor,” Kwon said. “By using a liquid semiconductor, we believe we can minimize that problem.”