Michael G. Spencer

Join Sigma Xi for the Science and Society Distinguished Public Talk on Thursday, April 21 at 6 p.m. in the UNM Conference Center Auditorium as they present ‘Nuclear Batteries for Long Life Low Power Applications.’

Co-sponsored by the Albuquerque Section of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and its Life Members Affinity Group, Sigma Xi (the Scientific Research Society), the UNM Department of Physics and Astronomy and the UNM Division of Continuing Education, the event features electrical engineer Michael G. Spencer, a computer scientist and professor at Cornell University.

Spencer has served as associate dean of research and graduate studies for the School of Engineering from 2002 to 2008 and directed the Wide Bandgap Laboratory, where he researched semiconductor materials like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN), as well as two dimensional semiconductors like graphene. He also co-founded Widetronix, a company that builds low power long life betavoltaic batteries. He has served as one of the directors for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Nano-Fabrication Network, and was a founder of the International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials Conference. 

The talk will focus on his work with betavoltaic batteries. As the power requirements for electronic circuits have steadily dropped, applications for stand-alone systems have risen. Such applications include cardiac pacemakers, medical and environmental monitoring as well as anti-tampering. Implementation of these technologies requires autonomous power in the range between nanowatts and hundreds of microwatts. Beta emitters (radioisotopes which emit only electrons) are safe, have high energy density and are able to produce energy at the microwatt level with long lifetimes (10-25 years) and extremely small footprints. Over the last few years, Silicon Carbide semiconductor technology has matured and large area substrates have been introduced. SiC betavoltaic devices are uniquely suited for application as radioisotope converters, and are predicted to have the highest conversion efficiencies.

There will be a meet and greet with Spencer at 5:30 p.m. in the UNM Conference Center Auditorium, located at 1634 University Blvd. NE.

Pizza will be provided after the lecture.

For directions to the UNM Conference Center, go to UNMCC.