Young NUST MISIS Scientists Receive the Moscow Government Award for the Development of Betavoltaic Converters

Sergey Legotin, a Candidate of Technical Sciences and an Associate Professor at the NUST MISIS Department of Semiconductor Electronics and Semiconductor Physics, and Andrey Krasnov, a PhD Student at NUST MISIS, have received the 2016 Moscow Government Award for young scientists. Their project, aimed at the development of betavoltaic converters for an independent power supply in the category “Aviation and Space Technology”, has already received 1 million Rubles.

A betavoltaic converter is a source of electrical energy generated through the energy conversion of radioactive decay. The process of power generation is similar to the process taking place in solar cell batteries, with the only difference being that power sources are β particles. Getting into the semiconductor converter, β particles generate electric current.

New batteries have unique properties: record-high storage density, reliability, an ability to work without maintenance, and an unprecedented service life. Betavoltaic converters will be irreplaceable in situations where chemical batteries will not be able to provide long and stable operation, for example, in challenges connected with space exploration or electric supplies of devices in conditions of critically low temperatures — such as in the Arctic and Polar Regions.

“NUST MISIS scientists` new development has great potential: in various industries, the demand for reliable batteries with a long service life is high. Taking into account the unique characteristics — small size and safety — the betavoltaic batteries developed at NUST MISIS will be able to take a significant market share of similar sources of energy”, — said Alevtina Chernikova, Rector of NUST MISIS.

The Moscow Government Award for young scientists has been awarded on a competitive basis since 2013. The Award can be received either by an individual or groups with up to 3 members. The number of awards given increased from 8 in 2013 to 31 in 2015, and the award’s premium rate increased from 500,000 Rubles to 1 million Rubles. In 2016, 33 awards with 1-million-Ruble prizes were given out.