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Radioisotope-Powered Voltaic Cells

Award Information

Department of Defense
Missile Defense Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
1993 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Spire Corporation
One Patriots Park Bedford, MA 01730-2396
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 1993
Title: Radioisotope-Powered Voltaic Cells
Agency / Branch: DOD / MDA
Contract: N/A
Award Amount: $698,098.00


Spire's program will develop a high energy density, long life power source for space applications such as Brilliant Pebbles and Brilliant Eyes. The essential element of the proposed device consists of a radioisotope powered indium phosphide voltaic cell that can achieve an energy density over ten thousand times greater than that of chemical batteries. In past attempts to develop radioisotope powered voltaic cells, the power attained was severely limited by radiation damage to the silicon semiconductor material used in the cells. This limitation has been removed by the recently discovered radiation damage resistance and annealing properties of indium phosphide. High energy beta and alpha emitters can now achieve high power and long life, and the use of alpha emitters can eliminate external radiation. Spire's voltaic cells represent a power source for remote or inaccessible locations such as space, ocean depths, arctic or mountainous regions, as well as for implantable power sources for cardiac pacemakers, insulin pumps, and ventricular assist devices.

Principal Investigator:

Edward Burke

Business Contact:

Small Business Information at Submission:

Spire Corp.
One Patriots Park Bedford, MA 01730

Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No