The preliminary idea is to use flexible laminate sheets of Beta radiation source material, then layers of transparent dielectric (with differing permittivities to encourage transition radiation) and then a set of source facing solar cells to absorb the Cherenkov and transition photons resulting from the beta particles passage through the dielectric sheets. This could be rolled into bundles to increase the overall power generating surface area while limiting the amount of physical volume occupied by the device. The hope would be to develop a design that could utilize a source as close to raw fission reactor waste as possible to limit the amount of processing needed. Presumably, this could be scaled to small low power sources or larger assemblies which could turn otherwise indefinitely stored waste into auxiliary control power at existing nuclear generation facilities.
To actually develop such a device I would need to enter into a graduate physics program at a school with nuclear physics facilities (where radioactive material samples are available), and where the university library has free access to past research papers. Cherenkov’s original papers and other early works seem to be behind pay walls and those would need to be studied by myself in order to hypothesize the amount of power in the form of visible light that would be generated by Cherenkov and Transition effects in whichever dielectric materials that I choose to evaluate. The hypothesis and analysis of one or more of the experiments that I would need to do to create the prototype would then presumably be my thesis, and perhaps the university could assist with any patent process as well.
As I am bereft of any activities which could advance my career, I may well choose to send a few graduate applications.