The fast-charging device, which won Eesha Khare a $50,000 prize at an international science fair is a so-called supercapacitor, a gizmo that can pack a lot of energy into a tiny space with devices like mobile phones that can be fully charged in 20 to 30 seconds.
What’s more, it can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared with 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries, according to Khare
“My cellphone battery always dies,” she told NBC News when asked what inspired her to work on the energy-storage technology. Supercapacitors also allowed her to focus on her interest in nanochemistry — “really working at the nanoscale to make significant advances in many different fields.”
To date, she has used the supercapacitor to power a light-emitting diode, or LED. The invention’s future is even brighter. She sees it fitting inside mobile phones and the other portable electronic devices like tablets and laptops, freeing people and their gadgets for a longer time from reliance on electrical outlets.
“It is also flexible, so it can be used in rollup displays and clothing and fabric,” Khare added. “It has a lot of different applications and advantages over batteries in that sense.”
Khare’s invention won her the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and $50,000 prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.