The lithium-ion batteries, present in all phones, take the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

The lithium-ion batteries, present in all phones, take the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

If there is a fundamental component in our mobile, something without which it would not work, something that cannot be missing in any device, is the drums. When we talk about mobiles (and almost any gadget in general) we talk about lithium-ion batteries, a technology that we began to see in the early 70s and that today has been recognized as one of the greatest inventions in history with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

This was made known by the commission in charge of the award, which has recognized the work of John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the "development of lithium-ion batteries". And it is not for less, because it is difficult to imagine a world like the current one without this type of batteries, which we not only find in a Samsung or a Xiaomi, but also in electric cars or headphones.

A brief review of history

Noble In the image, the three winners with a Nobel Prize for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

It was Stanley Whittingham, an English chemist who currently works at Binghamton University, who laid the lithium ion battery bases back in the 70s using titanium sulfide and lithium metal on the electrodes of the device.

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Years later, John Goodenough, physicist and professor at the University of Texas, got double the power of the Whittingham prototype. Already in the 80s, Akira Yoshino, a Japanese chemist who teaches at the Meijo University, had the idea of insert lithium ions like an electrode, polishing the battery that we currently use in our mobiles.

It won't be until 1991 when we see the first commercial lithium-ion battery from Sony, which used cobalt oxide (LiCoO2). It has rained a lot since then, so much that some alternatives are beginning to be seen (because lithium is a rare earth and therefore not very abundant), such as batteries based on solid-state cells with crystal electrolytes, made of magnesium or Nanosilicon

Why lithium ion?


Using lithium ion is not trivial, but you have your reasons. Lithium-ion has a high energy density, which means it can store a lot of charge without the need for the device to be heavy or bulky. In the same way, it stands out for its download capacity, its low self-discharge rate and for having little memory effect.

Lithium-ion batteries have no memory effect and have a very high energy density

On the other hand, their life cycles are "reduced", approximately 1,000 cycles and, given their manufacture, when made with flammable materials, they can explode if there is any problem of overheating. That does not mean that you carry a bomb in your pocket, nothing is further from reality, since the batteries they have a series of circuits that avoid these problems.

Be that as it may, and while we wait for the batteries of the future to arrive, the best we can do is take good care of the battery of our mobile. How? Maintaining the load between 20 and 80 and not exposing it to temperatures neither too high nor too low.