NASA SBIR 2018-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-1- S3.01-6263
 Power Generation and Conversion
 5 Watt per Kilogram Tritium Betavoltaic
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
City Labs, Inc.
301 Civic Court
Homestead , FL 33030-6001
(305) 909-7593

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Peter Cabauy PhD
301 Civic Court Homestead, FL 33030 - 6001
(305) 909-7593

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Peter Cabauy PhD
301 Civic Court Homestead, FL 33030 - 6001
(305) 909-7593
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 2
End: 3
Technical Abstract

The proposed innovation will significantly improve the performance of tritium-powered betavoltaic batteries through the development of a high bandgap InAlP diode coupled to a high beta-flux thin film metal tritide. Tritium has a power density of 300 W/kg and City Labs’ new metal hydride film has a power density approaching 70 W/Kg and can be expanded to 100 W/kg.This project will investigate the performance improvement from a wide bandgap semiconductor diode, specifically with the goal of achieving >10% beta-electron energy conversion efficiency. The device will be built by City Labs with its tritium beta emitter expertise and MicroLink's metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) capability.  

The proposed Phase I research seeks to develop an InAlP p/n junction with a high beta-flux metal tritide for use in betavoltaic power sources.  The betavoltaic p/n junction will increase the efficiency of betavoltaic devices from 8% up to 12%  based on the incident tritium beta flux.  The secondary goal is to investigate the release of the betavoltaic epitaxial layer through the removal of the substrate via lapidary and/or chemical etchants.

Potential NASA Applications

City Labs anticipate that the proposed work will result in the creation of a betavoltaic battery with a volumetric energy density 100 times that of lithium batteries (integrated over 20 years of continuous power). This ultra-high, energy density will allow tritium betavoltaics to be introduced to a mainstream market in a number of potential NASA applications, including high value deep space missions, CubeSats, independent power sources for spacecraft electronics and backup communications systems

Potential Non-NASA Applications

Applications include: defense/security applications, anti-tamper, nuclear storage/ device monitoring applications, satellite power supplies, including CubeSats, autonomous wireless sensors, and medical bionics/ implants. City Labs has sold prototype and commercial batteries into select high value markets with customers such as Lockheed Martin and NASA's JPL and currently has letters-of-support from Orbital ATK and Lockheed Martin Space Systems for the proposed betavoltaic power source.

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