I would like to know the best method to convert gamma radiation to electrical energy. I have already considered silicon semiconductor cells so please comment or answer if u have any other answers.

  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Dec 26, 2021 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ It's awe fully broad at present. Perhaps start by narrowing down what you mean by gamma radiation, as the spectrum there covers many many octaves, way more than visible light. $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2021 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't dare to put an answer here, this is far beyond my knowledge, but there exist diamond gammavoltaic cells. Maybe this link is appropriate ? sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2468606921000538 $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 26, 2021 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ Relevant: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/80602 $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2021 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ There are many different ways to convert gamma rays to electricity. Which is best really depends on the wavelength distribution and intensity (quantity). If you could narrow that down, we could give you better answers. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2021 at 4:36

2 Answers 2


A possibility would be to have a sheet of metal in the beam of gamma rays. As the gamma rays would eject some of the electron from the material, the electrons would carry most of the gamma rays momentum (some would be transferred to the atom), so would travel in approximately the same direction as the initial gamma ray. The emitted electrons could then be captured in a thicker piece of metal.

Since there is now a difference in charge between these two pieces of metal, it would be possible to use it like a battery (or other DC source). The voltage/current would be a bit irregular, so would have to be electrically "tidied" before it could be safely used for power but that is a circuit problem.

Hopefully that helps

  • $\begingroup$ can I ask u to specify the metal to be used because lead absorbs the radiation $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2021 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @user05897693839 a relativly lighter metal, such as iron would work best as would take less energy to eject the electron. Hence the ejected electtron would have more energy (possibly interacting with more electons, increasing the output current of the device) $\endgroup$
    – Nyra
    Dec 26, 2021 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ That is cool, Nyra. Did you invent the concept for this idea? If so, full points! Eminently plausible. If this is something that is partly real and there is background reading you can link up I would like to read. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 26, 2021 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ There have been a bunch of efforts to make atomic batteries, usually using beta or alpha emitters. Gamma ray's tend to go long distances through materials but also produce an ionization trail, interacting with electrons via the Compton effect. So efficiencies would be low using Nyra's concept, and probably be more like a gamma ray detector than a power source, but there could be some clever ways to try to do it in the solid state so the electrons don't have to leave the material, or scale up using lots of thin sheets of metal. $\endgroup$
    – UVphoton
    Dec 26, 2021 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk the effect of radiation ejecting electrons is called Ionizing radiation, and is a common method of distinguishing between different types of radiation. the two main methods are the photoelectric effect and Compton scattering. Using a charge difference to provide power is the idea behind discharging capacitors $\endgroup$
    – Nyra
    Dec 27, 2021 at 3:34

The only practical way with reasonable efficiency is to absorb the gamma rays, turn the energy into heat, and drive a heat engine. A nuclear power plant does this with the gammas it makes, along with other radiation, using the energy to drive a steam turbine.

If moving parts are a problem, the heat engine can be a thermoelectric generator, but efficiency is much lower.

  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking the same thing -- use the gamma radiation to heat the working fluid for the steam turbine. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2021 at 15:50

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