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Abstract  

The specific energy density from radioactive decay is five to six orders of magnitude greater than the specific energy density in conventional chemical battery and fuel cell technologies. We are currently investigating the use of liquid semiconductor based betavoltaics as a way to directly convert the energy of radioactive decay into electrical power and potentially avoid the radiation damage that occurs in solid state semiconductor devices due to non-ionizing energy loss. Sulfur-35 was selected as the isotope for the liquid semiconductor demonstrations because it can be produced in high specific activity and is chemically compatible with known liquid semiconductor media.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: J. Schwantes, R. Addleman, J. Davidson, M. Douglas, D. Meier, O. Mullen, M. Myjak, M. Jones, M. Woodring, B. Johnson, and P. Santschi

Abstract  

We are developing a medium-resolution autonomous in situ gamma detection system for marine and coastal waters. The system is designed to extract and preconcentrate isotopes of interest from natural waters prior to detection in order to eliminate signal attenuation of the gamma rays traveling through water and lower the overall background from the presence of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes (40K and U–Th series radionuclides). Filtration is used to preconcentrate target isotopes residing on suspended particles, while chemosorption is employed to preferentially extract truly dissolved components from the water column. Used filter and chemosorbent media will be counted autonomously using two LaBr3 detectors in a near 4-π configuration around the samples. A compact digital pulse processing system, developed in-house and capable of running in coincidence mode, is used to process the signal from the detectors to a small on-board computer. The entire system is extremely compact (9″ dia. × 30″ len.) and platform independent, but designed for initial deployment on a research buoy. A variety of commercial and in-house nano-porous chemosorbents have been selected, procured or produced, and these and filter and detector components have been tested.

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