Betavoltaic, Nuclear, & Tritium Battery Technology Overview | City Labs Skip to main content

Technology Overview

Nanotritium Battery Technology for Microelectronics

City Labs, Inc. is the pioneering innovator of long-life (20+ years) Nanotritium™ batteries for microelectronics. The battery is resistant to varying temperatures and other environmental conditions due to the robustness of the tritium decay process. tritium is a radioisotope used as an illumination source for Exit signs commonly found in schools, theatres, commercial buildings and aircraft.

The battery also serves as a vital component for the security and defense of electronics . As confirmed in independent testing by Lockheed Martin, the City Labs tritium battery is resistant to extreme temperature variance (-55°C to +150°C), as well as extreme vibration and altitude, due to the robust architecture of City Labs’ proprietary technology and the use of tritium.

Tritium Source Diagram

What is Tritium?

Tritium is a beta- (electron) emitting by-product of certain nuclear power plants (e.g. CanDU Reactors), which City Labs implements in a safe and effective power-harvesting battery. Tritium is the most benign of radioactive isotopes and is a technology already used as an illumination source for Exit signs commonly found in schools, theatres, commercial buildings and commercial aircraft.

battery atomic formula
Ragone Plot

City Labs’ batteries are fueled by tritium, a radioisotope with a half life of 12.3 years. This means that only half of the battery’s fuel will be used in the first 12 years. Internally, the battery will continuously emit low powered electrons independently of temperature or any environmental conditions. This is very different from conventional batteries that are dependent on chemical reactions to produce electrons in order to provide power.

20+ Year Lifetime

Even if a conventional battery had enough chemical fuel to last 20 years, the chemical reactions in the battery are extremely sensitive to impurities, temperature variations, and other environmental factors; this generates a host of battery life reliability issues that are not present in betavoltaic-based batteries. Aging of betavoltaic batteries can be accurately simulated by exposing the battery’s internal components to 20 years worth of electron emissions. This can be done in a matter of days in special laboratories. Conventional batteries fail in longevity testing because they are affected by environmental factors; faced with the same conditions City Labs’ Nanotritium™ battery offer performance and reliability.

Encryption Security

Nanotritium™ batteries are used to keep encryption keys alive in SRAM for more than 20 years in digital processors such as Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). These keys are maintained in SRAM volatile memory while the FPGA or processor is powered down. The rugged Nanotritium™ battery maintains power to the SRAM even in harsh temperature environments. This is a benefit over conventional batteries that are chemical based (e.g. lithium, NiCad, etc.).

City labs battery on motherboard


Next generation batteries, currently under development, will supply power in the 50-100 microwatts through the scaling up of internal semiconductor and tritium components. Additionally, these next generation batteries will be capable of milliwatt power bursts lasting several minutes through the incorporation of secondary (i.e. Rechargeable) thin-film batteries and/or capacitor-like devices.

city lab battery pluged in

Third-Party Testing

Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control conducted an industry survey of tritium batteries, the results of which were presented at the 2008 Anti-Tamper Conference. Lockheed Martin’s independent third-party survey demonstrated that City Labs’ rugged Nanotritium™ betavoltaic outperformed its competitors with the best combination of power and energy density. Additional third-party testing demonstrated an extended temperature range: -55°C to +150°C.

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