Eesha Khare: A winner to remember
Eesha Khare could be on the verge of solving the crisis of weak mobile batteries with one outstanding and potentially disruptive innovation. A couple of years ago, when she was an 18 year old senior from California’s Lynbrook High School, Eesha produced a tiny device, basically a nano battery, that has the potential to charge a mobile phone in about 20-30 seconds.
Eesha displayed her creation in Phoenix, Arizona at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Called a supercapacitator, the device can fit inside a standard smartphone battery. Eesha demonstrated the supercapacitator by using it to power a small LED, after charging for a mere 20 seconds. The flexible capacitator, which can be squeezed into unusually shaped spaces, lasted about 10,000 charge cycles, compared to a standard battery’s 1,000 charge cycles.
Esha’s supercapacitator is constructed with nanostructures that store more energy per volume, maintain a charge longer and reduce charge time. It is a solid-state device, which is a safer and less environmentally hostile alternative to standard batteries that are known to leak extremely toxic fluid when casings are damaged. The flexibility of the device is also expected to reduce the possibility of damage. The capacitator is more temperature-stable than regular batteries and cheaper. Supervised by Dr. Yat Li at the University of California’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in Santa Cruz, Eesha designed, synthesized, and characterized a novel core-shell nanorod electrode with hydrogenated TiO2 (H-TiO2) core and polyaniline shell, fabricated into a flexible solid-state device.
Aside from powering mobile devices and LED lighting, it also has the potential to be used in automotive batteries. This could make the power consumption in electric cars dramatically more time efficient.
Eesha, an exceptionally bright student of Indian origin, won the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award, including a $50,000 prize. Regarding her achievement, she said at the time, “With this money I will be able to pay for my college and also work on making scientific advancements.” In addition to gaining the attention of IT majors like Google, Eesha was interviewed by talk show host, Conan O’Brien.
Accolades aside, even teenagers are targeted by patent trolls. Eesha was accused of patent infringement and threatened with a lawsuit by killjoys who did not even hold a patent, as reported by TechDirt in 2013.
Where is she now?
Set to graduate from Harvard University in 2017, Eesha is now an S.B. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Leverett House. At the Harvard Institute of Politics, Eesha has served on the JFK Jr. Forum Committee and as co-chair of the education policy group. She is a talented and enthusiastic researcher and has focused on nanomaterials research for three years, which earned her a prestigious place among Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy and Industry just last year. Eesha says she looks forward to bringing together her passion for political issues, women’s issues and scientific research during her tenure as the Chair of the Women’s Initiative in Leadership.