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A Nuclear Photon Energy Conversion Study

Author: H. V. Watts and S. Nudelman
Corporate Author: Armour Research Foundation
Corporate Report Number: ARF 1214-TR 3
Date of Publication: 1963-01-15
Pages: 29
Contract: AF 33(657)8527
Project: 8173
AD Number: AD0295003
Original AD Number: AD-295 003

The temperature dependence and phosphor thickness on the luminescence output was studies for several phosphors which appear promising for use in a nuclear-photon energy conversion system. in this system, beta particles from a radioisotope source are absorbed by the phosphor which emits a multiplicity of low energy photos. These photons are then converted to electrical energy by a photovoltaic device. The most promising phosphor to date, a ZnCdS:Cu, had about a 15% decrease in luminescence intensity as the temperature was increased from room temperature to 120 C, and was found to be relatively transparent to its own light with an optimum thickness for Sr90 beta excitation of 160 mg/sq cm. Strontium-90 beta particle radiation damage studies on this phosphor indicate an onset of damage at a total radiation dose of 10 to the 8th power ergs/sq cm. These data indicate that Sr90 cannot be used and that the maximum operating temperature is about 120 C. Calculations indicate that, with a maximum temperature of 120 C allowed in the device, a maximum power input density of 200 nw/sq cm is permitted. Experiments are in progress on the source-phosphor geometry of an intimate powder mix of promethium-147 and ZnCdS:Cu. Also, experiments are being conducted on the fabrication of a single crystal phosphor - photovoltaic device.

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