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12-year-old designs advanced 3D solar cell Answered

From Slashdot:

12-year-old William Yuan's invention of a highly-efficient, three-dimensional nanotube solar cell for visible and ultraviolet light has won him an award and a $25,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

"Current solar cells are flat and can only absorb visible light" Yuan said. 'I came up with an innovative solar cell that absorbs both visible and UV light. My project focused on finding the optimum solar cell to further increase the light absorption and efficiency and design a nanotube for light-electricity conversion efficiency."

Much about his young man is eerily similar to many participants here on Instuctables...

Slashdot
Beaverton Valley Times story
Katu.com story

16 Replies

user
docm8trx (author)2010-12-23

http://current.com/green/89312614_12-year-old-improves-solar-invention.htm
look towards the bottom of comments. you will find that it is stated the boy's presentation image is identical to dr. Ready's, and the idea is the intellectual property of someone else. Articles DO claim erroneously that the boy invented the cell, not improved it.

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user
ReCreate (author)2008-12-14

wait...does this cost more than a normal one?

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user
ReCreate (author)2008-09-24

wait when did that happen?

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user
downgrade (author)2008-09-23

If people read the articles they would see that he did not take credit for "inventing the 3d solar cell", but he improved upon it. So saying he copied something is like saying the computer was just a copy of the calculator so it wasn't a big deal. (ok that was a bit of a stretch, but it's the point not the degree I am trying to get across). The stuff about commercial sales and cost though, that's always a tough one. People want to be green, but don't want to spend a lot of money (sometimes).

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user
EricTheCyclist (author)2008-09-20

He has designed a neat solar cell, but it remains to be seen whether it is commercially viable to manufacture and robust. Solar cell advances have seen a lot of press in the last 20 years, but we still aren't getting them cheap enough to put on our roofs.

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user
guyfrom7up (author)2008-09-20

wow, this is the firsT time I feel somewhat impressed by someone that is a kid

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user
Keith-Kid (author)2008-09-19

Makes me feel so underachieved! Oh wait, I'm 14. no biggie.

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user
conrad2468 (author)Keith-Kid2008-09-19

same here lets focus our thoughts on the up side of global warming!

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user
docm8trx (author)2008-09-19

again , not to disparage the boy, but according to jud ready phd. ,pictures the display boards behind the boy in some photos, were directly taken from animations used in the original applications for patent 4 years ago.WITHOUT improvement. dr ready has tried numerous times to contact the boy and family unsuccessfully. dr ready feels that acceptance of the award would be wrong, but offers an invitation to the young man to visit georgia tech,to work with them on the projectif he feels he has impovements to offer.

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swampmouse (author)2008-09-19

I initiated a simple Yahoo "search" and a large number of websites are listed with that general subject matter, including at least one from MIT (the contents are enlightening). I am sure that this young man is quite bright and deserves praise for his science project, but the headline and subsequent article are somewhat overdone (of course, that is what they are paid to do). However, for someone of his age to even reproduce such research is still an accomplishment and deserving of his prize. Kudos to him, again!!!

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user
docm8trx (author)2008-09-18

sorry to burst bubbles. agreed, the kid is bright, but the media hasnt done their research.the 3d cell was invented years ago by folks at georgia tech research institute. theyve been producing prototypes since '94. ip2biz in atlanta holds exclusive and global license to the intellectual property. these rights are for sale to whomever would develop manufacture and bring it to market. i refer you to response to an article on clean technica.com.

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gmoon (author)docm8trx2008-09-19

AFAIK, the stories don't claim he invented the 3D cell, only improved it. From the Slashdot blurb:

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.

That's very nearly an order of magnitude improvement...pretty impressive for a 12-year-old...

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omnibot (author)docm8trx2008-09-18

Well .. let's hope he puts his notes online under a Creative Commons licence and that the Chinese puts it in production *evil grin*

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user
randempedestrian (author)2008-09-18

damn. i don't feel like trying anymore.

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user
Lftndbt (author)2008-09-18

Kudos to him!! Smart young man.

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