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Miniature Radioisotope Thermoelectric Power CubesCube-shaped thermoelectric devices energized by a particles from radioactive decay of Cm-244 have been proposed as long-lived sources of power. These power cubes are intended especially for incorporation into electronic circuits that must operate in dark, extremely cold locations (e.g., polar locations or deep underwater on Earth, or in deep interplanetary space). Unlike conventional radioisotope thermoelectric generators used heretofore as central power sources in some spacecraft, the proposed power cubes would be small enough (volumes would range between 0.1 and 0.2 cm3) to play the roles of batteries that are parts of, and dedicated to, individual electronic-circuit packages. Unlike electrochemical batteries, these power cubes would perform well at low temperatures. They would also last much longer: given that the half-life of Cm-244 is 18 years, a power cube could remain adequate as a power source for years, depending on the power demand in its particular application.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Patel, Jagdish U.
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Fleurial, Jean-Pierre
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Snyder, G. Jeffrey
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Caillat, Thierry
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, February 2004
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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