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Lithium-ion battery inventors were awarded with Nobel in Chemistry

The Nobel prize is one of the most honored and prestigious prizes in the world.  Last day, 9th of October three scientists were honored with the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of Lithium-ion batteries. John B. Goodenough from University of Texas at Austin, M. Stanley Whittingham from Binghamton University and Akira Yoshino from Meijo University are these three great researchers who received the equal award. The value of Nobel Prize is 9 million kronor (~$905,000) and the trio will equally share the amount. Prof Goodenough, at the age of 97 is the oldest ever Nobel laureate.

In the 1970s, Prof. Whittingham pioneered with the research on new superconducting materials, with a focus on layered solid that could easily take up ions into their matrix. This paved the way to develop a new cathode material, titanium disulphide, that allowed lithium ions to move freely within it.

In 1980s, Prof. Goodenough improved the design of battery. He was able to double the battery’s voltage by replacing the titanium disulphide cathode with one made of cobalt oxide as he realized that a metal oxide could hold more energy in the cathode than a metal sulphide could.

In 1985, Prof. Yoshino created the first commercially-viable battery based on the above two researchers’’ work. “The initial stage of my research was not for secondary batteries; the first step was new materials: electromagnetic polymers.” said by the Yoshino. When paired with Goodenough’s new cathode, it created a safe, lightweight and highly efficient battery.

“We should appreciate that our whole world has been transformed by the lithium-ion battery,” said Clare Grey, a professor of chemistry at the University of Cambridge who has worked with both Goodenough and Whittingham.

“These batteries have helped power the portable revolution and now have a crucial role in electric vehicles to lowering emissions and improving air quality,” said Saiful Islam, a professor of chemistry in the energy materials research group at the University of Bath. “In fact, most people probably saw this Nobel Prize news on a device powered by a lithium-ion battery. In my view, this award is long overdue and it’s great to see that this important area of materials chemistry has been recognized.”


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