Nanomaterial turns radiation directly into electricity

Nuclear power stations inefficiently generate electricity by heating steam to turn turbines, but this is set to change with nanomaterials that extract electricity directly from radiation. Radiation slams into tiles of gold forcing out high-energy electrons that pass through surrounding carbon nanotubes into lithium hydride, and then into electrodes allowing current to flow. Devices based on the material could be small enough to power interplanetary probes, aircraft, land vehicles, robots, etc. Within a decade we’ll be able to build the final designs of the radiation-to-electricity concept.

2008.04.07