The story of the creation of lithium-ion batteries: the three scientists earned the Nobel prize in chemistry

История создания литий-ионных батарей: чем трое ученых заслужили Нобелевскую премию по химии

This year the Nobel prize in chemistry became John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, who invented lithium-ion batteries. The contribution of scientists is indeed significant, as this type of battery is considered the most popular in the world and is used in the creation of gadgets, electric cars and many other devices.

Journalists Techno 24 have prepared for you a brief history of the creation of the lithium-ion batteries.

The opening of Stanley Whittingham and his contribution to the development of

Back in the 1970-ies, the British Stanley Whittingham, who worked in the energy company, Exxon, with the creation of the lithium battery used in the anode of titanium sulfide and lithium to the cathode. The first lithium battery which can be recharged, demonstrated a tolerable figures for current and voltage only periodically exploded and poisoned the surrounding gas, the titanium disulfide when in contact with air isolated hydrogen sulfide, to breathe which is at least unpleasant, as a maximum – it is dangerous.

История создания литий-ионных батарей: чем трое ученых заслужили Нобелевскую премию по химии

Stanley Whittingham

In addition, the Titan at all times was very expensive, and in 1970 the price of titanium disulfide was about $ 1,000 per kilogram (equivalent to 5 thousand dollars in our time). Not to mention the fact that lithium metal-air burning. Therefore, Exxon shut down the project of Whittingham away from sin.

Continuing the search for optimal solutions and contribution to the development of John Goodenough

Already in 1978, British scientist John Goodenough and his team began searching for new materials for battery anodes. It was a very promising project, so that the potential of lithium power sources were already known, but to curb whimsical metal really could not manage – the recent experiments of Whittingham showed that before the start of serial production of the desired lithium-ion batteries is still far.

In the experimental batteries was the lithium sulfide cathode and the anode. The sulphides advantage over other materials in the anode asked, Goodenough and his colleagues in the direction to look for.

История создания литий-ионных батарей: чем трое ученых заслужили Нобелевскую премию по химии

John Goodenough

Scientists ordered to his laboratory furnace for the production of sulphides on the spot to quickly experiment with different compounds. The furnace didn’t go well: one day it exploded and caused the fire. The incident forced the team to reconsider their plans: possibly, sulfides, despite their efficiency, were not the best choice. Scientists have shifted their attention towards oxides to synthesize which was much safer.

After many tests with various metals, including iron and manganese, Goodenough found that the oxide of lithium-cobalt shows the best results. Here are just using it should not like to provided to this team, is to look for material that absorbs lithium ions, a material that readily gives off lithium ions. Cobalt fit better than others because it meets all the safety requirements and also increases the cell voltage to 4 volts, i.e., twice in comparison with the early versions of the battery.

История создания литий-ионных батарей: чем трое ученых заслужили Нобелевскую премию по химии

The Nobel prize in chemistry in 2019 awarded to the creators of the lithium-ion battery

The use of cobalt was an important, but not the last step in creating lithium-ion batteries. Deal with one problem, scientists are faced with another: the current density was too low to lithium-ion cells was economically justified. And the team that has made one breakthrough, made and second, when reducing the thickness of the electrodes to 100 µm was able to increase the amperage to the level of other types of batteries, with twice the voltage and capacity.

The story of the invention of lithium-ion batteries does not end there. Despite the opening of Gudenaa, the team of scientists still do not have a model ready for serial production. Due to the use of metallic lithium in the cathode during charge of the battery lithium ions back to the anode uneven layer, and dendrites – relief chains which grow caused a short circuit and fireworks.

История создания литий-ионных батарей: чем трое ученых заслужили Нобелевскую премию по химии

How robots lithium-ion battery

In 1980, the Moroccan scholar Rashid Yazy found that graphite copes with the role of the cathode, while it is absolutely fireproof. Here only the existing organic electrolytes decompose rapidly in a collision with the graphite, because the Language replaced them with solid electrolyte.

The development of the commercial sample and the contribution of Akiro Ezine

However, it took another 11 years before the market received the first Li-ion battery: researchers increased the safety of the batteries, increased voltage, experimented with different materials of the cathode.

История создания литий-ионных батарей: чем трое ученых заслужили Нобелевскую премию по химии

Akihiro Yoshino

A commercial example of a lithium ion battery developed by the Japanese company Sony and distinguished chemist Akira Yoshino. The first device that received the advanced battery, has become an Amateur video camera Sony CCD-TR1. It can withstand 1000 charging cycles, and the residual capacity after such deterioration was fourfold higher than that of Nickel-cadmium batteries of the same type.

Now lithium-ion batteries are used in almost all electronic devices: smartphone, tablet, smart watch, fitness tracker, laptop, wireless mouse, and even electric cars. And it is difficult to imagine our daily life without these devices and inventions of three scientists, which ensures the viability of these devices.

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