Most 18-year-olds today are partying and discovering the fun of being in a relationship. But for Eesha, whose first love is science, she’s not missing out on the fun even though much of her time is spent in the lab. How can she complain when she’s doing what really interests her? Cooking something up in the lab is often more appealing to her than the usual teen stuff.
Age is no issue to Eesha, who wants to make the most of her free time doing something that matters to society. A girl like her, who is changing the game for batteries, deserves to be called “extraordinary.” As we usher into a world of instant delights and comfort, Eesha has paved the way for no-fuss re-energizing of batteries. With such technology, scientists can build upon it and almost see the coming “age of instant charging.”
Eesha Khare’s Parents
It isn’t surprising for Eesha to develop such technology, since both of her parents are into science. Her father, Manoj Khare, is a whiz in his own right. He was one of the co-founders of “Vihana, Incorporated,” a small venture which manufactures semiconductors. The company was later bought by Cisco, according to a write-up, for thirty-million dollars. That’s quite hefty money for a small company, but, knowing the importance of technology in this age, it might as well have been along that figure.
“The EEStory” has this bio of Mr. Khare, said to be taken from Vihana's website:
“Manoj Khare is responsible for the architecture of Vihana's specialized processor and for the development of the Vihana hardware subsystem. He has worked on various aspects of computer systems for the past 16 years. Prior to Vihana, Manoj Khare was Principal Engineer and project leader in the Platform Architecture group in the Enterprise Architecture Lab at Intel Corp, responsible for definition of Intel's next-generation Itanium Server platforms. His responsibilities spanned systems architecture, interconnect protocol definition and server performance analysis. Previously, Manojwas Lead Architect and Project Leader responsible for the definition of the Scalability Port interconnect, a scalable point-to-point cache coherent interconnect for multi-node Itanium Server systems. He was a key contributor on the definition and design of Intel's Xeon & Itanium-2 Server Chipset (E8870 chipset).
Manoj has also worked on several microprocessors at Intel. He defined the backside bus protocol and L3-cache architecture on Intel's Itanium processor. He has worked on 80486 processor validation and Pentium processor platform performance analysis. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Intel Achievement Award. Manoj currently holds 6 issued patents, and has 13 applications at various stages of filing. He received his MSEE from the University of Rochester, and his BSEE from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.” (SOURCE: The EEStory)
That’s quite heady stuff for a biography, but it clearly explains how Eesha Khare turned out to be such a sucker for science. With a father who has such impressive credentials, it’s clear whom she took after. But not only was her father an achiever; her mother, Reena Khare, is also a scientist and has been associated with many patents concerning genomic technologies. She used to be part of the now-defunct “Incyte, Incorporated,” based in Palo Alto, California.
Early Interest in Science
Having been born in Saratoga, California, Eesha was always surrounded by technology. She recalls in an interview how her childhood was filled with the upcoming technologies developed in Silicon Valley. From an early age, she knew science was her thing. Play would consist of studying how rockets worked and trying out experiments for kids, such as using lemon juice to write a secret message on a piece of paper. For those who haven’t tried that yet, the paper appears blank to the naked eye, but the message appears when read against the light.
That, and other kiddie experiments, appealed to young Eesha. Naturally intelligent and curious, she always found time to read and learn fun trivia on her own. In school, it was quite difficult to find her crowd because science wasn’t an in-thing for her peers. But this did not stop her from pursuing her hobby.
The Cellphone that Started It All
Eesha’s parents raised her in a simple household. Unlike other kids her age, she wasn’t lavished with expensive gadgets. Just for the sake of communication, she was given her own cell phone, which she described as “a brick of a phone.” She uses it mostly for calling, as she isn’t much of a texting-fan. Plus, the “brick” isn’t exactly handy.
But what always frustrated her was how the phone would die on her; she sometimes couldn’t use it when she needed it the most. The phone could not even be used for emergencies because the battery was so unreliable.
So, the frustrated Eesha began thinking of how to develop a technology that will enable batteries to charge faster and hold energy for a long time, and this led to her research on nanotechnology. The advent of batteries piqued her interest and, with parents who are into science, she had all the support she needed.
As a student at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, California, Eesha was known to be bright and sassy. She knew how to laugh at good jokes and how to have fun. And, because of her outgoing personality, she did not intimidate classmates. Try as she might, the thought of developing fast-charging technology just wouldn’t leave her, and she’d be reminded time and again whenever her cell phone battery drained without warning.
Entering the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
She searched for a laboratory that would support her and her research, but it was nearly impossible. What made them skeptical was her age; they found it hard to believe a girl like her would take interest in science. She searched until she found Yat Li, a professor at the University of California, who mentors young scientists like her.
Puragra Guhathakurta, an astronomy professor, launched the “UCSC Science Internship Program,” in which high school students may use the laboratory under the mentorship of the university's faculty members. Eesha set up a meeting with Yat Li, who has been the laboratory’s mentor since 2010. Yat Li’s two mentees were both finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search competition. He has terrific credentials, and Eesha knew he could help her with her research. In 2012, Yat Li decided not to participate in the internship program because it would mean taking several trips overseas. He was, however, approached by the adamant Eesha early in the year, who asked if he could take her in. She had been going from one laboratory to another, asking schools to let her use their facilities.
With no luck, she found herself knocking on the door of University of California Santa Cruz’s laboratory and speaking to a professor who had already made up his mind about taking a leave from mentoring high school students. But he saw a lot of potential in Eesha’s research, and decided to reconsider; he decided to take a risk. He took her in, albeit informally, and assigned one of his graduate students, Xihong Lu, to monitor her work.
Yat Li provided Eesha with literature so she could read, and better understand, past studies in her field of research. She proved to be a risk worth taking; going the extra mile for her research was not a question for Eesha. She entered the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and submitted her research, titled "Design and Synthesis of Hydrogenated TiO2-Polyaniline Nanorods for Flexible High-Performance Supercapacitors."
The following explains her research:
With the rapid growth of portable electronics, it has become necessary to develop efficient energy-storage technology to match this development. While batteries are currently used for energy-storage, they suffer from long charging times and short cycle life. Electrochemical supercapacitors have attracted attention as energy-storage devices because they bridge the gap between current alternatives of conventional capacitors and batteries, offering higher energy density than conventional capacitors and higher power density than batteries. Despite these advantages, supercapacitor energy density is much lower than batteries and increasing energy density remains a key challenge in supercapacitor research. The goal of this work was to design and synthesize a supercapacitor with increased energy density while maintaining power density and long cycle life.
To improve supercapacitor energy density, I designed, synthesized, and characterized a novel core-shell nanorod electrode with hydrogenated 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 pseudocapacitance 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.
Structural and electrochemical properties of the new electrode were evaluated. It demonstrated high capacitance of 203.3 mF/cm2 (238.5 F/g) compared to the next best alternative supercapacitor 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.
This project successfully designed, synthesized and characterized a novel nanorod electrode supercapacitor with increased energy density while retaining power density and long cycle life. This work is an important initial step in introducing this new electrode material in supercapacitors to replace conventional batteries in flexible electronic devices.
This project designed and synthesized a novel supercapacitor with increased energy density while maintaining power density and long cycle life using a new core-shell structure.
Used lab equipment at University of California Santa Cruz under the supervision of Dr. Yat Li.”
Her invention certainly caught the eyes of the judges. They were amazed at what her research aims to achieve – fast-charging luxury! It’s practical, and will definitely impact people around the world. It can be used in cars and every gadget powered by electricity and, if developed further, we might even say goodbye to lithium ion batteries.
It was determined that Eesha’s supercapacitor can be charged in about 20 seconds, and can have 10,000 charge-and-discharge cycles, compared to regular cell phone batteries which have about 1,000 cycles. She won 50,000 dollars in the competition as runner-up to Ionut Budisteanu, a 19-year-old Romanian college student who developed a self-driving car equipped with artificial intelligence.
Eesha plans to use the prize money for her college studies at Harvard.
There’s no limit to one’s imagination. If an 18-year-old can do something to change the way most of us live, what’s stopping anyone else from doing the same?
Awards and Achievements
- 2013: Was a runner-up at the “Intel International Science and Engineering Fair”
- 2013: Invited to speak on the talk show “Conan”
Wikipedia (Eesha Khare)
The Huffington Post (Eesha Khare, 18-Year-Old, Invents Device That Charges Cell Phone Battery In Under 30 Seconds)
Daily News and Analysis India (18-year-old Eesha Khare invents a revolutionary device that can charge a phone in 20 seconds)
The Washington Times (Teen invents 20-second cell phone charger)
Mashable (Teen's Invention Could Create 20-Second Phone Charge)
Policymic (Supercapacitor Phone Charger: Eesha Khare's Invention Charges Phones Instantly)
CNET (Teen's science project could charge phones in 20 seconds)
The Mary Sue (Young Scientist Eesha Khare Chats With Conan About Her Award Winning Experience)
Hello Giggles (Eesha Khare Is Fully Charged – And Thanks To Her Invention, Your Phone Can Be Too)
TheEEStory (Why we-Eesha Khare about EESha Khare's Supercapacitor)
UCSC (High school student's work in UCSC lab earns Intel Science Fair prize)
KTSF (California teen invents cell phone supercharger)
USC (Design and Synthesis of Hydrogenated TiO2-Polyaniline Nanorods for Flexible High-Performance Supercapacitors)