The First Nuclear Powered Artificial Neuron

A joint team from Arkenlight and Axorus have built the first artificial neuron powered by a Tritium Radiovoltaic micro-power generator. This proof of concept paves the way for long lasting autonomous implanted medical devices.
Using Arkenlight’s micro-power generator, Axorus was able to power its artificial neuron. This electronic piece of technology is a circuit behaving like a biological neuron. It is used inside an artificial retina for patients suffering from Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and will also be used for other neurodegenerative diseases.
Currently, the Axorus artificial neuron is powered by ambient light, which is well-suited for the retina. In this application, Arkenlight’s technology will allow these devices to be powered in low light conditions. Beyond that, the combined technologies will enable a broader range of self-powered medical devices. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Battery Elimination in Electronics: Market Impact IoT, 6G, Healthcare, Wearables 2021-2041.
Arkenlight, a University of Bristol spin-out company and South West Nuclear Hub member, is commercializing a range of ultra-long lasting radiovolatic power cells. They are targeting the use of medical grade radioisotopes to fuel their synthetic diamond power cells. With a commercial target of 2024, Arkenlight’s devices will generate μWs of power for decades and longer in a tiny footprint of ~4x4mm and less than 50 microns in thickness.
Morgan Boardman, CEO of Arkenlight, said: “Axorus’ breakthrough is an exciting evolution in neuroscience. We are proud that our combined technologies will impact and improve the lives of so many people.”
This proof-of-concept is a first step, Axorus and Arkenlight are working on miniaturizing and integrating those technologies to be implantable and last decades.
Jean-Damien Louise, CEO of Axorus commented “Arkenlight’s betavoltaic battery will enable Axorus to provide a long lasting power source for medical devices, beyond our artificial retina.”