This thing is called a 5D optical data storage crystal. It's a little piece of fused quartz, etched to remarkable precision using a femtosecond ultraviolet laser.
The "5D" part of the name is just a marketing gimmick (it only has three dimensions, obviously), but it's impressive anyway. Using current technology, these little things can store 360 terabytes of data. Once written, these crystals can survive temperatures up to 1000°C, and could theoretically last for billions of years.
@Jo Low energy beta radiation is easy to contain. The concept here is to use layers of diamond which are thick enough to contain the radioactivity while also acting as semiconductors to generate electric current.
In short, if it’s properly constructed, it should be perfectly safe.
@Jo Side note: for a while, in the 20th century, people made wrist watches which used radioactive paint to make the numbers glow in the dark. Pretty clever idea, really. The watches themselves weren’t dangerous at all to the people wearing them, as radiation couldn’t escape from the glass and metal of the watch casing. The danger was to the factory workers who were assembling them, using radioactive paint for hours every day, which had the kind of effect you might expect.
But in a world where robots can do these jobs, that shouldn’t be a problem.
@InvaderXan @Jo Yeah, to minimize the risk of rupture, batteries should definitely be resistant to impact, tampering, and corrosion, as well as firesafe, given the flammability of diamonds. At smaller sizes, it's generally okay, but if these end up being used similarly to classic RTGs for longterm systems, the casing should be up to the task to avoid any INES events at large scales.
@bunny_jane @Sapphicgiraffic @Jo I’m still excited for the sugar batteries. I hope they turn out to be viable, because they’d certainly be environmentally friendly. https://solarpunk-aesthetic.tumblr.com/post/175493229780/sugar-batteries-one-big-challenge-in-renewable
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