A Three-Dimensional Porous Silicon p–n Diode for Betavoltaics and Photovoltaics


  • This work was partially supported by National Science Foundation (USA). We benefited from conversations with Dr. Marc Christophersen. We thank Sean O'Brian for his assistance in solid source diffusion, Dr. Tome Kosteski for his assistance in carrying out some of the device measurements, Dr. Wade Adams and Dr. Howard Schmidt for a critical reading of the initial manuscript, as well as the assistance of Dr. Keith Emery with photovoltaic calibration measurements. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.


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Three-dimensional porous silicon p–n diodes made by standard industrial processing (see Figure) result in an energy-conversion layer with a large surface/volume ratio. This structure increases radioisotope energy-conversion efficiency tenfold, and could lead to a practical nuclear battery that lasts for many years. Experimental results also show marked photovoltaic response.