On October 9, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced the names of 2019 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry. According to Academy Secretary General Goran Hansson, this year three specialists became “Nobel’s”: John Goodenough (USA), Stanley Whittingham (Great Britain) and Akira Yoshino (Japan). A scientific award was awarded to them for the development of lithium-ion batteries, the website of the award reports.
According to tradition, representatives of the Nobel Committee phoned live one of the winners - Akira Yoshino.
“I have always been encouraged by curiosity, I owe all my research to the pursuit of knowledge,” the laureate said.
The development of lithium-ion batteries began almost half a century ago - in the 1970s. Over the past few years, experts have consistently pointed out that this invention should be awarded the Nobel Prize. The award "found its heroes" now, when the world cannot be imagined without devices on batteries - from gadgets to electric vehicles.
- From left to right: John Goodenough (USA), Stanley Whittingham (Great Britain) and Akira Yoshino (Japan).
- © nobelprize.org
The basis of the technology of accumulation and use of electric energy was laid during the world oil crisis of 1973. Briton Stanley Whittingham began to study superconducting materials and created a cathode of titanium disulfide, which could be used in lithium batteries. Its first batteries were explosive, but had a sufficiently large potential difference - up to 2 volts.
American John Goodenough became the oldest researcher in the history of the award - this year he turned 97 years old. Closer to 1980, he replaced a number of materials in batteries. The modification made them much more powerful, but they were still not suitable for mass use.
After another 5 years, on the basis of the Gudenaf cathode, the Japanese Akira Yoshino created the first viable, suitable for commercial use lithium-ion battery, which used carbon material - petroleum coke.
- Modern lithium-ion battery
- © Thomas White / Reuters
The head of the Department of Electrochemistry at Moscow State University, Professor Evgeny Antipov, who collaborated with the current award winners, explained their contribution to the development of science.
“Whittingham showed a fundamental possibility (using lithium-ion batteries. - RT ), but the performance was not high, comparable to lead-acid batteries. And John Goodenough in the 1980s, working with a team in Cambridge, showed that complex lithium cobalt and lithium oxide can be used to extract and introduce lithium ... But without a pair, without anode material that would ensure stable operation of the cathode, the battery would not appeared. And so, a Japanese colleague suggested carbon material into which lithium can also be introduced and extracted in a reversible way, ”Antipov said.
According to the scientist, the first laureate showed a fundamental possibility, the second - the suitability of cobalt oxide and lithium for these purposes, and the third colleague found a “married couple”, which was then used in a commercial product.
The creation of a portable solid-state current source has made a revolution, which continues now, the Nobel Committee noted. Thanks to the work of the laureates, the foundation of the “wireless world” was laid and the prerequisites for “creating a society free of fossil fuels” were created, the award website reported.
Recall that the premium is 9 million Swedish kronor (about $ 918 thousand). The award will be traditionally presented on December 10 - the day of memory of the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. In the field of chemistry, the Nobel Prize was awarded to domestic scientists only once. The 1956 laureate for the development of chemical kinetics was the famous Soviet scientist Nikolai Semenov.