An 18-year old from California has won US$50 000 for her work on a supercapacitor in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Eesha Khare won the award for her project titled “Design and Synthesis of Hydrogenated TiO2-Polyaniline Nanorods for Flexible High-Performance Supercapacitors.”
She has worked on creating a supercapacitor small enough to fit inside portable electronic goods and has the potential to deliver a full charge to devices in 30 seconds. So far the supercapacitor has only been used to light an LED but its use in mobile phones and even in large-scale applications is being considered.
Khare’s project goal was to design and synthesise a supercapacitor that did not compromise power density or long cycle life for energy density. Her design incorporated a novel core-shell nanorod electrode with a hydrogemated TiO2 (H-TiO2) core and polyaniline shell. The 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 power density and cycle life.
Having been proven in an LED test, Khare evaluated the results and theoretically applied them to other devices – including mobile phones.
Khare was awarded the money for a scholarship as the runner up in the Young Scientist Award. First prize was won by a 19-year Romanian student named Ionut Budisteanu who won US$75 000 for creating low-cost AI that can be used to drive vehicles.