A revolutionary 'nuclear battery' a step closer

Mar 21, 2013

(Phys.org) —Experts in nuclear physics at the University of Surrey have helped develop research towards a 'nuclear battery', which could revolutionize the concept of portable power by packing in up to a million times more energy compared to a conventional battery.

By capturing charged particles in a special storage ring the experts have solved a long-standing problem of how to understand the of an unstable isotope of bismuth, Bi-212, with potential far-reaching consequences.

Professor Phil Walker, of the University's Department of Physics, said: "The new understanding gives us confidence in the nuclear theory, which guides us to the next step of experimentation. It is hoped that this may, in the longer term, lead to the ability to control a form of trapped nuclear energy, with the ability to release the energy on demand."

Catching the bismuth ions in a storage ring has enabled, for the first time, of the trapped energy state, resolving a previous inconsistency with theory. Now, the theory can be used reliably to predict other properties of this isotope, and this suggests possible ways to release the trapped energy – which would be a key to unlocking the '' concept.

Working at the GSI accelerator laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany, an international team of scientists has studied a long-lived excited state, or energy trap, associated with the isotope Bi-212.

The bismuth ions were created by high-energy nuclear collisions and focussed into the GSI storage ring, where individual ions were observed as they circulated for several minutes at a time. This capability – observing individual charged atoms over extended periods of time – is world-wide unique to the GSI , and is opening up a range of scientific investigations into the fundamental properties of matter.

For the full publication see the journal, Physical Review Letters: http://prl.aps.org/toc/PRL/v110/i12#letters-

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Sean_W
3.9 / 5 (21) Mar 21, 2013
They make it sound interesting but without any details I can't get too excited about it.

Capture ions, confirm theory, (missing step) = nuclear batteries!
axemaster
5 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2013
So am I to take it that the plan is to delay atomic decays by accelerating them near the speed of light, then decelerating them a little when power is needed? I can't even tell what these guys are hoping to do, much less evaluate if it actually makes any sense or not.
gwrede
3.7 / 5 (9) Mar 21, 2013
I'm not holding my breath either. Seems the guys are doing basic physics research, but then others present this like a breakthrough of enormous proportions, like it would surpass "table-top nuclear reactors" and "cold fusion" as the ultimate solution to our energy problems.

Oh, well, maybe that's what it takes to ensure continued funding for basic research, for all I know.
Birger
5 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2013
Some isotopes are trapped at an energy level above their lowest level. Edward Teller believed it would be possible to tweak those isotopes -with an enegy blast of exactly the right energy- to release the trapped energy (in a way so the energy released would be significantly greater than the energy consumed).
This is how he intended to power the gamma-ray lasers for the "Star wars" program.
30 years on, no one knows how to do this, but maybe the University of Surrey has finally made a breakthrough in the basic science.
LED Guy
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2013
They are talking about excited states in the nucleus of the atoms. This is equivalent to the excited state of electrons of chromium in a ruby except that the nuclear states last much, much longer.

Birger is right that this would roughly amount to a gamma ray laser. Hit the bismuth with just the right wavelength of gamma rays and you can get out a lot more energy than you put in.

The hard parts are creating the gamma rays in the first place and then controlling the release. You would need a "laser" that only lases in portions of your gain medium.
Lurker2358
1.6 / 5 (9) Mar 21, 2013
Apparatus will probably suffer ablation and be destroyed before it pays for itself.
dschlink
1 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2013
This is about using a storage ring to improve the decay half-live and energy estimates. The half-lives are 60 minutes or less. There is nothing that can be extrapolated to a "nuclear battery".
grondilu
not rated yet Mar 21, 2013
I'm not sure what they mean by "battery". Aren't they talking about a mini nulcear "reactor", instead?
Tektrix
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2013
I'm not sure what they mean by "battery". Aren't they talking about a mini nulcear "reactor", instead?


Both, batteries and nuclear reactors, used to be called "piles".
Etreum
1 / 5 (8) Mar 21, 2013
They are already selling LENR devices. Look for Andrea Rossi E-CAT.
Very interesting.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 21, 2013
(bomb capable to destroy plane would fit into ball point pen).
Excellent...pure fusion weapon...

"No other researcher had been able to reproduce the results from the original experiment."

-Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah. Pons and fleishman. Could this be yet one more example of suppression for the good of humanity, or at least until theyre sure they understand the potentials and ramifications?

I just read 2 books by john barnes. Insaniacs plant megabombs in strategic places. These are 9 meter metal spheres, inside of which are some 20 tons of lithium deuteride surrounded by 180 or so pure fusion devices. Wish I could remember more details.

DC leaves a nice 20 mi crater and there is a new bay on the southwestern shore of lake michigan. Europe is ravaged by a blast in the north sea.

They should have put one on la palma. Oh I see there are already a couple of novels about nukes on la palma.

We are entering a dangerous era indeed.
djr
5 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2013
"-Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah. Pons and fleishman."

And of course - the infamous e-cat.... I still have the date marked on the calendar Otto....
kris2lee
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2013
They are already selling LENR devices. Look for Andrea Rossi E-CAT.
Very interesting.


Very interesting indeed would be to know who really did buy this. Till today, as far I know, the only hot air is produced from Rossis mount.
anti-geoengineering
1 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2013
I thought they already had this? OSV2&3 (X-37B)unmanned shuttle have this.
jujutsu
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2013
I just always carry around a pocket full of plutonium.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Mar 22, 2013
"-Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah. Pons and fleishman."

And of course - the infamous e-cat.... I still have the date marked on the calendar Otto....
Perhaps you should hold your uh...breath.
Steven_Anderson
1 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2013
I wish there was more to this article. From what a few are writing this could be a great thing. Does anyone have a pointer to the actual research? http://rawcell.com
Benni
1 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2013
This is not a device capable of being explosive as suggested above by the AWT crowd whose background in nuclear science is so weak in nuclear science that the point of the article is beyond their background in science. There can be no self sustaining chain reaction with this device because there is no "critical mass" of the proper radioactive material available to create it.

This is a "storage device", a medium in which to store electron charge similarly as a capacitor functions in any common electronic circuit, or as a bank of capacitors installed on power poles to correct power factor in the electric grid.

I know this because it is my job to design new equipment for the power industry, Electrical/Nuclear Engineering.
TheGhostofOtto1923
Mar 25, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TheGhostofOtto1923
Mar 25, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (9) Mar 25, 2013
I think the physorg staff is having trouble recognizing the all-cap use of someone being excerpted, and someone actually posting in his own words. Therefore I will not attempt to post the excerpt yet again. I will only direct the curious to the site where andrea rossi is SCREAMING THE RESULTS of indipendent (sic) confirmation of his hotcat COLD FUSION machine. http://www.e-catw...ositive/

-Again I am not responsible for the emotional content of the link.
GSwift7
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2013
I just always carry around a pocket full of plutonium


Supplies always sell out fast, but if you keep checking the site, they restock frequently. Uranium isn't quite the same as plutonium, but...

http://www.unitednuclear.com/

I love the annimated gif with the guy's eyebrows going up and down. lol

Such a battery could explode with million times more energy


That's not certain. Some methods of storing energy have limits to the maximum rate of discharge. For example, a radioactive thermal generator is limited by the rate of decay. It's got thousands of times the energy/unit weight of a Li-Ion battery, but it can't discharge it all at once. Heck, a standard car battery has more energy than a shotgun shell, but even if you make a car battery explode, it's not as violent/fast as gunpoweder discharge.
EyeNStein
1 / 5 (5) Mar 30, 2013
The numerous unstable isotopes of Bismuth would allow added particle energy to be input ( and stored) as near-stable Bismuth. The energy could then be released by decay naturally later or when prompted by adding more particles to increase instability.
But isnt thorium a better candidate for controlled energy release?
Humpty
1 / 5 (4) Apr 04, 2013
portable power by packing in up to a million times more energy compared to a conventional battery
Such a battery could explode with million times more energy, than the conventional lithium battery after then. I of course know quite well about research of unstable nuclear isomers in the past so I indeed know, they were researched primarily for military applications. Fortunately the Bi-212 isomer is still too short-living (~ 30 minutes) for to allow such an applications. If we really want such a powerful battery in safe regime, we should invest into cold fusion instead.


I saw the same battery explode in the Terminator documentary...

That was teleported from an adjacent parallel dimension.

Let us hope they do not come through the time temporal tunnel into OUR dimension.