Betavoltaics - Advances in Ultra Low Power Sensors Enabling Micro-Nuclear Batteries (Energy Harvesting & Storage USA 2010)

Dr Christopher Thomas, Chief Technology Officer
United States
Nov 17, 2010.

Presentation Summary

  • Betavoltaics, or nuclear batteries, have been around for over 50 years, but advances in solid and liquid semiconductor materials are now allowing scientist to see a commercial endpoint for this technology. This talk will cover the history, current technology developments, and role in ultra low power wireless sensor solutions.

Speaker Biography (Christopher Thomas)

Chris has over a decade of semiconductor materials and device fabrication expertise most recently with Cornell's Wide Bandgap Laboratory. His expertise includes materials process and growth technology for semiconductors, specializing in silicon carbide. He began his career as a professional soccer player from 1990 to 1996. Chris has a PhD from Cornell University in electricial engineering and a BS/MS in electrical engineering from Howard University.

Company Profile (Widetronix)

Widetronix logo
Widetronix is manufacturing small (mm), long life (+25 year) batteries for nano-watt to milli-watt applications in defense, medical, and logistics sectors, totaling $4B in addressable market. The underlying betavoltaic technology was created with over $2M Department of Defense (DoD) funding on Silicon Carbide (SiC) semiconductors in partnership with Cornell University. Widetronix is backed by $2M in state and federal grants, a $250K seed investment by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and additional funding from customers. First product sales are anticipated in late 2010 to a defense contractor focused on anti-tamper circuits, followed by entry into the medical markets, specifically internal and external sensors, in 2011. The long-term strategy is to create a self-powered embedded sensor platform incorporating the betavoltaic battery, burst power (i.e., thin film, ultra-caps), and emerging low power micro-controllers. This robust monitoring platform supports applications in electrical generation and energy management.
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