Today's Research. Future Solution
Dr Hippalgaonkar Kedar
Researcher, A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research (IMRE),
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering (NTU),
National Science Scholarship (BS-PhD) Recipient 2002
Wish that your electronic devices such as smart phones and power banks will not heat up after prolonged usage?
This could now be possible! Dr Hippalgaonkar Kedar and his international collaborators at UC Berkeley and Duke University have discovered that the charges in a metal called vanadium dioxide can conduct electricity without heat.
This defies a 164-year-old empirical law of physics – the Wiedemann-Franz law – as its electrons conduct heat 10 times less than what’s expected.
This discovery unlocks the pathway to a better understanding of fundamentals towards better thermal management and thermoelectrics. And with further tuning through discovery of other materials, this can be developed into useful technology to control the temperature, for example, into window coatings that would improve the efficient use of energy in buildings.
Inspired by two individuals – Physicist Richard Philips Feynman who predicted advancements such as nanotechnology and artificial intelligence back in the late 1950s, and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke who envisioned scientific innovations of the future, Kedar has always had a sense of curiosity since young.
During his undergrad in mechanical engineering, he learnt about heat transfer and how thermal conductivity is considered an intrinsic value for any material. However, after a conversation with his professor, he realized that thermal conductivity can be changed by tuning the material’s properties such as its size and temperature. With this in mind, he yearned for more than the limitations of what he could get from a textbook and embarked on his journey to better understand the science behind how materials work.
“Do what interests you and let your curiosity guide you,” the A*STAR National Science Scholarship (BS-PhD) recipient advocated.
He adds, “Future scientists can build on our research and find more breakthroughs, which may lead to more applications, in turn possibly affecting the lives of people.”
The 33-year old also holds a personal belief in keeping the Earth healthy. Now focusing on discovering renewable and sustainable energy sources, he hopes to see the use of less conventional energy sources such as coal and oil, to reduce climate change so that our future generations are able to see the earth as we now have.
And it’s no wonder that he along with his wife, are avid scuba diving fans, where they can connect directly with nature. His diving adventures included places such as Boracay, Komodo National Park, and most recently, Malapascua, one of the top diving sites in Philippines.
Kedar (left) at a recent diving trip
“Scuba diving helps to clear my head and enables me to re-evaluate my work,” says Kedar. “It keeps me in touch with nature, and serves as a reminder to help keep the Earth healthy.”