A Nuclear Microbattery for MEMS Devices

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This project was designed to demonstrate the feasibility of producing on-board power for MEMS devices using radioisotopes. MEMS is a fast growing field, with hopes for producing a wide variety of revolutionary applications, including ''labs on a chip,'' micromachined scanning tunneling microscopes, microscopic detectors for biological agents, microsystems for DNA identification, etc. Currently, these applications are limited by the lack of an on-board power source. Research is ongoing to study approaches such as fuel cells, fossil fuels, and chemical batteries, but all these concepts have limitations. For long-lived, high energy density applications, on-board radioisotope power offers the best choice. We ... continued below

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Blanchard, James; Henderson, Douglass & Lal, Amit August 20, 2002.

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Description

This project was designed to demonstrate the feasibility of producing on-board power for MEMS devices using radioisotopes. MEMS is a fast growing field, with hopes for producing a wide variety of revolutionary applications, including ''labs on a chip,'' micromachined scanning tunneling microscopes, microscopic detectors for biological agents, microsystems for DNA identification, etc. Currently, these applications are limited by the lack of an on-board power source. Research is ongoing to study approaches such as fuel cells, fossil fuels, and chemical batteries, but all these concepts have limitations. For long-lived, high energy density applications, on-board radioisotope power offers the best choice. We have succeeded in producing such devices using a variety of isotopes, incorporation methods, and device geometries. These experiments have demonstrated the feasibility of using radioisotope power and that there are a variety of options available for MEMS designers. As an example of an integrated, self-powered application, we have created an oscillating cantilever beam that is capable of consistent, periodic oscillations over very long time periods without the need for refueling. Ongoing work will demonstrate that this cantilever is capable of radio frequency transmission, allowing MEMS devices to communicate with one another wirelessly. Thus, this will be the first self-powered wireless transmitter available for use in MEMS devices, permitting such applications as sensors embedded in buildings for continuous monitoring of the building performance and integrity.

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OSTI as DE00799209

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  • Other Information: PBD: 20 Aug 2002

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: FG07-99ID13781
  • DOI: 10.2172/799209 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 799209
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc740040

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  • August 20, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 19, 2015, 7:39 p.m.

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  • Jan. 18, 2018, 8:24 p.m.

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Blanchard, James; Henderson, Douglass & Lal, Amit. A Nuclear Microbattery for MEMS Devices, report, August 20, 2002; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc740040/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.