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Radio-voltaic Identification Beacon (RIB)



Prime contractor
Organisational Unit
Implementation progress
23 November 2020

Duration: 18 months


New battery technologies are required to deliver reliable energy at micropower levels for very long duration deployments in space. Such sources may be used to provide low-duty cycle whereby the electronics is not powered continuously. In this study a novel diamond-based Radio Voltaic Power Supply (RVPS) will be fabricated that incorporates carbon 14 as the active material which is atomically incorporated within the diamond diode structure so that beta radiation is efficiently converted into electrical power.

This study will focus on establishing design rules for spatially localising active isotopic diamond into a monocrystalline Schottky diode structure to inform on the configuration of vertically stacked diode devices for the target power output. This novel battery concept prevents any release of radioactivity and can be packaged into a standard pill cell for easy integration. The technological goal is a device designed to maintain an output of 10μW for two hundred years. Such power levels are compatible with for example, the operation of a MEMS sensor platform and periodic burst communication with a base station.

RVPS are solid state primary batteries with no temperature limited performance due to their chemical stability and microwatt beta decay heat. As the energy requirements to operate low band width, communication systems move into the micro-Watt levels of power consumption, the use of such energy sources to power identification beacons becomes possible. Asset tagging will become an important requirement for future space missions as the amount of hardware being taken into space increases year on year. Due to its high radiation tolerance, a RIB can be fitted during manufacture to spacecraft such as satellites and remain operational well beyond the service life of the spacecraft, allowing it to be identified even after being shut down due to RIB being an independent and self-powered module.

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Related OSIP Campaign
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Main application area
Radio-voltaic Identification Beacon (RIB)