Mankind is almost out of fossil fuels as witnessed by companies trying to squeeze oil out of sand, “Fracking” destroying the Earths crust. Wind and solar will not be able to keep pace with our need for energy and fusion power will not be available until the next century, if at all.
Fission reactors of today utilize less than 5% of the energy contained within its fuel with the remaining 95% deemed waste, yet contain large amounts of usable radioactive energy.
It is assumed the reader is familiar with radioactivity and the particles emitted, and electrodynamics.
This waste energy is composed of Alpha, Beta and Gamma particles which can be captured and utilized to generate electricity long into the far future, as their half-lives range up to millions of years and can still knock electrons out of their host atoms.
Together this energy creates an ‘energy gradient’ outward away from the source pushing electrons outward in a ‘cue ball’ fashion creating a particle shower and free them for capture and use. To harness this flow of particles a multiple layer container with thickness of the layers being tailored to the energy levels expected to be present at a given depth of penetration, With the multiple layers comprising first Tungsten, followed by Al2O3 (alumina) as an insulator and then to Carbon deposited in the structure of Diamond, another layer of Al2O3 and the pattern repeats until the electrons are creating a current.
Tungsten was chosen due to its electron density, while the Carbon in Diamond configuration was chosen due to its atomic nucleus density and all three very high temperature tolerant. The carbon diamond is capable of being ‘doped’ to convert it into a semiconductor either N-type or P-type.
It sounds simple, yet it would be on the cutting edge of materials science and capable of being scaled up to mass production even now.
Over 50 years of research and testing have proven the concept at the initial stages. The layers are to be vapor deposited due to thickness being down to the nano-scale.
The original intention was to use nuclear waste but can utilize any radioactive source if custom power output is desired. The container can store the fuel source until it is no longer emitting any radiation eliminating the need for underground storage as used today.
The outer layers would be designed much as a thermo-electric device as used today allowing as much energy as possible to be utilized by making use of the heat energy of the isotopes.
The mass attenuation data for the elements of the device are used to specify the thickness of the element at different ranges as that will change depending on the capture ratio.
A lot of research has been done, how ever it cannot all be described in a 500 word document, but will be supplied upon request.
Robert J. Smith