Today, we all rely heavily on our cellphones, and many of us may find it difficult to envision life without the priceless rectangles that store all of our vital information. But did you know who made it feasible for these smartphones? The lithium-ion battery that powers modern electronics like smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. as well as electric and hybrid cars was invented by John B. Goodenough, the 2019 Nobel Prize laureate.Goodenough passed away on Sunday at an assisted living community in Austin, Texas, according to a New York Times story. He was 100.
Dr. Goodenough made a significant advancement in the field of batteries in 1980 while working at the University of Oxford by creating a cathode made of lithium-cobalt oxide. He had enhanced the battery’s design created by Dr. Whittingham, a British chemist employed by Exxon. Due to Dr. Goodenough’s discovery, lithium-ion batteries now have better energy capacities and greater safety, and they are the preferred power source for many different applications.
Despite the fact that Dr. Goodenough’s invention revolutionized the way we utilize technology, the NYT investigation claims that he never received a royalty for his work and gave away most of his rights. Oxford declined to patent the battery at first because it was of little interest. Dr. Goodenough eventually had to transfer the rights to a British organization engaged in atomic energy development.
But not everyone was unaware of the battery’s potential. Lithium-ion batteries have great promise, and scientists in Japan and Switzerland have been working to improve them. They found that the battery’s anode was considerably enhanced by stacking lithium with graphitic carbon, further enhancing the battery’s efficiency and security. The first safe rechargeable lithium-ion battery was created by Sony in 1991 by combining Dr. Goodenough’s cathode and a carbon anode, according to the NYT report.
At the age of 97, Dr. Goodenough won the coveted prize alongside two other scientists who made substantial contributions to the development of battery technology, becoming the oldest Nobel Prize winner in history.