An improved high energy-density battery for producing continuous low-voltage electrical energy is powered by direct conversion of the kinetic energy of charged particles to electrical potentials. An improved battery comprises at least one primary energy source and a plurality of cells, each cell comprising a secondary electron emitter plate spaced apart from a collector plate. Cells are configured to maximize the number of relatively low-energy secondary electrons from the emitter plates which reaches and is retained by collector plates. Heat production is minimized during efficient energy conversion of the relatively high-energy of primary charged particles to the lower energy but relatively high current capacity of large numbers of secondary electrons. Material work functions and Fermi levels of the emitters and collectors are chosen to favor emission of secondary electrons from emitter plates and retention of secondary electrons impinging on a collector plate, thus increasing efficiency and reducing internal battery leakage currents. Relatively low cell voltages and low heat losses in the direct conversion process mean that the energy sources may be confined in relatively small packages suitable for powering (and mounting in close proximity to) electronic microcircuits and sensors.
Robert D. Young; John P. Hageman; Glenn M. Light; Stephen W. Seale, Jr.