The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to John B. Goodenough (The University of Texas at Austin), M. Stanley Whittingham (Binghamton University, State University of New York), and Akira Yoshino (Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University) “for the development of lithium-ion batteries”. With the creation and subsequent optimization of lithium-ion batteries to make them more powerful, lighter, and more robust, the seminal work of Goodenough, Whittingham, and Yoshino has had a profound impact on our modern society. This ubiquitous technology has revolutionized our daily lives by paving the way for portable electronics and made renewable energy sources more viable. While attempts to improve the performance of batteries continue, the lithium-ion battery has remained the world’s most reliable battery system for more than 40 years. The three winners will each receive an equal share of the roughly $1 million award. At 97, Goodenough is now the oldest person ever to win the Nobel Prize.
“A long-awaited recognition for the creators of lithium-ion batteries has come true. The electrochemistry and material science communities – and the greater chemistry community as a whole – are excited to hear the news of the 2019 Nobel Prize award to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino for their pioneering contribution to lithium-ion batteries,” said ACS Energy Letters Editor-in-Chief Prashant Kamat. “As we all know, the lithium-ion battery has revolutionized our modern-day activities. From mobile phones to laptops and from electronic gadgets to electric cars, these storage batteries have become part of our everyday life. We at ACS Publications are excited to be part of this celebration.”
Whittingham laid the foundation of the lithium-ion battery while working at Exxon in the 1970s. During that time, the oil crisis in the United States was ongoing, and there was a strong drive to develop methods of energy storage and transport that did not rely on fossil fuels. Whittingham developed a 2V lithium-ion battery based on a titanium disulfide cathode and lithium metal anode. While a seminal contribution to the advancement of the lithium battery, adopting Whittingham’s system for everyday use would be limiting due to the high reactivity of lithium metal and risk of explosion.
Years later, John Goodenough redesigned the cathode opting for metal oxide materials in place of metal sulfides, thereby increasing the output twofold to 4V. This version of the lithium-ion battery was still limited for widespread use due to the continued incorporation of lithium metal as anode materials, which still posed a risk of explosion.
By redesigning the structure of the anode (replacing the unstable lithium metal with a carbon material capable of intercalating lithium ions in its structure), Akira Yoshino made a lithium-ion battery that was much safer to use and store, and therefore advanced the world’s first commercially viable lithium-ion battery in 1985. An added advantage of doing away with the use of a lithium metal anode was that this version of the battery was longer lasting, as the intercalated lithium ions could move more freely through the anode without breaking down the electrode material.
In honor of this year’s Nobel Prize, the following articles published by the award winners in many of the ACS Publications journals are being made free-to-read now through Nov. 10, 2019. Enjoy this collection!
ACS Energy Letters
Cellulose-Based Porous Membrane for Suppressing Li Dendrite Formation in Lithium–Sulfur Battery
ACS Energy Lett., 2016, 1, 3, 633-637
What Limits the Capacity of Layered Oxide Cathodes in Lithium Batteries?
ACS Energy Lett., 2019, 4, 8, 1902-1906
Status and Outlook for Magnesium Battery Technologies: A Conversation with Stan Whittingham and Sarbajit Banerjee
ACS Energy Lett., 2019, 4, 2, 572-575
Chemistry of Materials
Rising to the Challenge: John B. Goodenough and Youngsik Kim, and “Challenges for Rechargeable Li Batteries”
Chem. Mater., 2015, 27, 15, 5149-5150
Perspective on Engineering Transition-Metal Oxides
Chem. Mater., 2014, 26, 1, 820-829
Challenges for Rechargeable Li Batteries
Chem. Mater., 2010, 22, 3, 587-603
Accounts of Chemical Research
Evolution of Strategies for Modern Rechargeable Batteries
Acc. Chem. Res., 2013, 46, 5, 1053-1061
Can Multielectron Intercalation Reactions Be the Basis of Next Generation Batteries?
Acc. Chem. Res., 2018, 51, 2, 258-264
Journal of the American Chemical Society
The Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery: A Perspective
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 4, 1167-1176
Enhanced Cycling Stability of Hybrid Li–Air Batteries Enabled by Ordered Pd3Fe Intermetallic Electrocatalyst
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 23, 7278-7281
Monodisperse Porous LiFePO4 Microspheres for a High Power Li-Ion Battery Cathode
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 7, 2132-2135
Changing Outlook for Rechargeable Batteries
ACS Catal., 2017, 7, 2, 1132-1135
Ultimate Limits to Intercalation Reactions for Lithium Batteries
Chem. Rev., 2014, 114, 23, 11414-11443
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Hydrothermal Synthesis and Electrochemical Properties of Li3V2(PO4)3/C-Based Composites for Lithium-Ion Batteries
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2011, 3, 9, 3772-3776
Thermal Stability and Reactivity of Cathode Materials for Li-Ion Batteries
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2016, 8, 11, 7013-7021
ACS Applied Energy Materials
Structural Changes in a High-Energy Density VO2F Cathode upon Heating and Li Cycling
ACS Appl. Energy Mater., 2018, 1, 9, 4514-4521
ACS Materials Letters
A High-Performance All-Solid-State Sodium Battery with a Poly(ethylene oxide)–Na3Zr2Si2PO12 Composite Electrolyte
ACS Materials Lett., 2019, 1, 1, 132-138