ExploraVision Toshiba

An Indian American high school student, Abhinav Yadav (fourth from right), was part of the winning team in this year’s ExploraVision competition. Also seen here with the winning team from East Setauket, N.Y.-based Ward Melville High School are (from left) coach James Dornicik, Toshiba’s Carl Ferdenzi, Kian Abbott, Jeffrey Casey, Darren Tung, Toshiba’s Mike Ferrara, and principal Alan Baum. (Marnie Kula/exploravision.org photo)

A high school team from New York, which included an Indian American student, May 1 was named the 2018 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision national winner.

The team from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y., featured students from grades 10 through 12, including Abhinav Yadav. Other students of the team coached by James Dornicik included Kian Abbott, Jeffrey Casey and Darren Tung.

The team won for its project, Polychiral Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Solar Cells, according to the ExploraVision site.

As research on physical and electronic properties of graphene and carbon nanotubes continues, their possible applications expand, the site said.

CNTs can possess different chiralities, one family of which forms semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic properties of silicon and gallium arsenide. These properties demonstrate the viability of CNTs as candidate for solar cells; however, unlike other semiconductors, the differing chiralities of semiconductor CNTs also have different absorption spectra, allowing each chirality to absorb a specific wavelength of light, it said.

Combining this property with the concentric layering of single walled carbon nanotubes to form multiwalled carbon nanotubes permits the creation of polychiral MWCNTs, in which each layer has a different chirality, ExploraVision said.

Each nanotube in a solar cell created from these polychiral MWCNTs would have the combined absorption spectrum of its constituent SWCNTs. MWCNTs whose combined absorption spectra most closely resembles solar emissions will form solar cells whose efficiency surpasses silicon-based cells, it said.

ExploraVision is one of the world's largest K-12 STEM scholarship competitions. It challenges students to imagine future technology that can solve global issues.

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