Radioisotope Micropower Generation: Microfabricated Reciprocating Electro-Mechanical Power Generators

  • Rajesh Duggirala
  • Amit Lal
  • Shankar Radhakrishnan
Part of the MEMS Reference Shelf book series (MEMSRS, volume 6)


In this chapter, microfabricated radioisotope power generators that employ 100.3 year half-lifetime 63Ni radioisotope fuel for realizing long operational lifetime are presented. The generators utilize energetic electrons emitted from 63Ni thin films to electrostatically actuate reciprocating piezoelectric unimorph cantilevers, converting the emitted radioisotope energy to electromechanical energy stored in the deformed unimorph cantilever, and piezoelectricity to convert the resulting mechanical strain into electrical charges, converting the stored electromechanical energy to extractable electrical energy. The reciprocating piezoelectric unimorph cantilevers go through charge-discharge-vibrate cycles, and efficiently integrate the low ≈300nW output from low activities (≈2.9millicurie) of safe 63Ni thin films to generate 0.25% duty cycle 12.95 μW power pulses (across an optimal load impedance of 521 kΩ) potentially useful for pulsed sensor microsystems.


63Ni Thin Film Electromechanical Energy Radioisotope Source Unimorph Cantilever Power Generation Characteristic 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC  2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajesh Duggirala
    • 1
  • Amit Lal
    • 2
  • Shankar Radhakrishnan
    • 3
  1. 1.Intel CorporationHillsboroUSA
  2. 2.School of Electrical and Computer EngineeringCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA

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