Communication has evolved massively in the recent past. From landline phones to e-mails, and text messaging, the world of telecommunication has now become an absolute essential part of our lives. Today, a switched off phone is the cause of frustration and often makes people feel handicapped.
An average cellphone can take atleast 6 to 7 hours to fully get charged. But now, a breakthrough by an 18-year-old science student might enable mobile phones and other batteries to be charged within seconds.
Saratoga-resident Eesha Khare made the breakthrough by creating a small super capacitor that can fit inside a cell phone battery and enable ultra-fast electricity transfer and storage, delivering a full charge in 20-30 seconds instead of several hours.
The fast-charging device is a so-called super capacitor, a gizmo that can pack a lot of energy into a tiny space, charges quickly and holds its charge for a long time.
"The best part of my project was seeing its practical application. After charging my super capacitor for 20 seconds, I was able to light a LED device and that's an amazing accomplishment," said Khare at an engineering fair.
It can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared to only 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries.
Her interest in nano-chemistry eventually led to this brilliant discovery.
Khare's invention won her the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award with $50,000 prize money at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, conducted this week in Phoenix, Ariz.
"With this money I will be able to pay for my college and also work on making scientific advancements," says Khare after receiving the prize money.
Eesha’s invention also has potential applications for car batteries.
The nano-tech device Khare created can supposedly withstand up to 100,000 charges, a 100-fold increase over current technology, and it’s flexible enough to be used in clothing or displays on any non-flat surface.
Over 1,600 finalists from around the world competed in the science fair for a $75,000 scholarship grand prize awarded by Intel. Runners-up received $50,000 scholarships.
Khare was the runner-up to 19-year-old Romanian student, who created a low-cost artificial intelligence that can drive vehicles. She tied with Louisiana 17-year-old Henry Wanjune, who figured out new ways to measure dark matter and energy in space.
In her project summary, Khare has clearly mentioned her objectives, methods and results.
Her goal was to design and synthesise a super capacitor with increased energy density while maintaining power density and long cycle life.
She designed, synthesised and characterised a novel core-shell nanorod electrode with hydrogemated TiO2(H-TiO2) core and polyaniline shell. H-TiO2 acts as the double layer electrostatic core.
Good conductivity of H-TiO2 combined with the high pseudo capacitance of polyaniline results in significantly higher overall capacitance and energy density while retaining good power density and cycle life.
This new electrode was fabricated into a flexible solid-state device to light an LED to test it in a practical application.
Khare then evaluated the structural and electrochemical properties of the new electrode. It demonstrated high capacitance of 203.3 mF/cm2 (238.5 F/g) compared to the next best alternative super capacitor in previous research of 80 F/g, due to the design of the core-shell structure.
This resulted in excellent energy density of 20.1 Wh/kg, comparable to batteries, while maintaining a high power density of 20540 W/kg. It also demonstrated a much higher cycle life compared to batteries, with a low 32.5% capacitance loss over 10,000 cycles at a high scan rate of 200 mV/s.
Therefore, she successfully managed to introduce this new energy device to replace conventional batteries in flexible electronic devices.
Her project summary can be viewed here.