Skip to comments.12 yr old revolutionizes solar cells
Posted on 09/18/2008 10:25:13 AM PDT by pollwatcher
BEAVERTON, Ore. A new invention could revolutionize solar energy and it was made by a 12-year-old in Beaverton.
Despite his age, William Yuan has already studied nuclear fusion and nanotechnology, and he is on his way to solving the energy crisis.
It all started with Legos - after he learned nanotechnology to make robots take off. The seventh grader then got an idea inspired by the sun.
"Solar it seems underused, and there are only a few problems with it," Yuan said.
Encouraged by his Meadow Park Middle School science teacher, the 12-year-old developed a 3D solar cell.
"Regular solar cells are only 2D and only allow light interaction once," he said.
And his cell can absorb both visible and UV light.
"I started to realize I was actually onto something," Yuan said.
At first, he couldn't believe his calculations.
"This solar cell can't be generating this much electricity, it can't be absorbing this much extra light," he recalled thinking.
If he is right, solar panels with his 3D cells would provide 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than cutting-edge 3D solar cells.
"Which would make solar energy actually a viable energy source for the Pacific Northwest," Yuan said.
While college students have come up with unusual solar cars and the state of Oregon recently unveiled solar panels to power highway lights, Yuan is thinking global.
"It'll have a really positive impact on society and the environment," he said.
His next step is to get a manufacturer and market it.
Yuan is flying out to Washington D.C. on Monday to accept a $25,000 scholarship for his research. He earned the Davidson Fellow award, which is for those 18 and under.
12 years old - wow. And to think when I was his age, the most important thing was getting home from school in time to watch Spiderman.
bump for later
Cutting edge cells convert something like 20 percent of solar energy to electricity. Nine times this seems unlikely.
Another “Government School” doofus so roundly condemned by some around here.
I wish him well.
WOW! GREAT WORK, William!
well, the article is so vague on the science its very hard to tell what its trying to describe
Yep! At 12 I was more interested in which type of playing card would make the most noise on the spokes of my bike!
Of course, I have no idea if this will work or not. But OMG, where does a kid like this come from?
If true...the Saudis are now dealing a losing hand of cards. Autos powered by solar energy and his collection cell...will put gas powered gas out of existence in fifteen years. The kid ought to be put up for the Nobel Prize.
The sun is an object of great curiosity here in the northwest.
that kid is 12? is he on the chinese olympic gymnastic team as well?
The problem is this. Sunlight has many different frequencies in it. Solar cells are only able to extract energy from those frequencies that can resonate with the compounds in the photovoltaic material. Many years ago, the idea of making a photovoltaic cell with many different layers, each responding to a different frequency was tried out. Apparently, it only got so far.
The kid’s 3D cell might be another way of addressing the problem of multiple frequencies. Again, the notion of a 500 fold increase seems unlikely even with a 3D design. But will be patient and wait...
I think you meant to say "lower latitude" state.
You never know, it might reveal itself to you at some time..
If it’s all true, a child has figured out the obvious!
all those millions..billions of dollars spent on this kind of research, and they get smacked by a 12 yr. old... lmao
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