John Goodenough, the world's oldest Nobel Prize winner who played a crucial role in developing the lithium-ion battery, has died at the age of 100.
Lithium-ion batteries power millions of electric vehicles around the globe.
Dr Goodenough was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2019 at the age of 97 for his work on batteries, including the development of the lithium-ion battery.
The lightweight, powerful battery sparked a revolution in technology, paving the way for modern portable electronics such as laptops and mobile phones. The batteries also play a critical role in powering larger modern devices, including solar panels.
After changing careers, Goodenough began studying the magnetism of metal oxides and noticed that the structure of cobalt oxides was similar to that of titanium dioxide used by Whittingham's team in their battery cathode. Therefore, he concluded that cobalt material can also be used as the cathode of the electrode, while solving the problem that Titanium disulfide is expensive and will produce toxic hydrogen sulfide after contacting with air.
Although Goodenough has developed suitable cathode materials, the return on this technology is still minimal due to the lack of fundamental improvement in anode materials.
In 1985, Akira Yoshino and his colleagues used petroleum coke as anode material to solve the remaining problems in the development of lithium ion batteries.
In 1991, Sony put Goodenough's lithium cobalt oxide cathode and Akira Yoshino's anode together to make the world's first commercial lithium ion battery, which was later widely used in digital products such as mobile phones and computers.
In 1986, Goodenough returned from Oxford University to teach at the University of Texas, determined to continue his research and successfully developed Lithium iron phosphate battery in 1995.