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Manwon Lender

“Founding Father” of Lithium-Ion Batteries Helps Solve Persistent 40-Year Problem With His Invention

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Manwon Lender

In the late 1970s, M. Stanley Whittingham was the first to describe the concept of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, an achievement for which he would share the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Yet even he couldn’t have anticipated the complex materials science challenges that would arise as these batteries came to power the world’s portable electronics. One persistent technical problem is that every time a new lithium-ion battery is installed in a device, up to about one-fifth of its energy capacity is lost before the device can be recharged the very first time. That’s true whether the battery is installed in a laptop, camera, wristwatch, or even in a new electric vehicle. The cause is impurities that form on the nickel-rich cathodes—the positive (+) side of a battery through which its stored energy is discharged.

“The improvements seen in electrochemical performance and structural stability make niobium-modified NMC 811 a candidate as a cathode material for use in higher energy density applications, such as electric vehicles,” said Whittingham. “Combining a niobium coating with the substitution of niobium atoms for manganese atoms may be a better way to increase both initial capacity and long-term capacity retention. These modifications can be easily scaled-up using the present multi-step manufacturing processes for NMC materials.”

“Founding Father” of Lithium-Ion Batteries Helps Solve Persistent 40-Year Problem With His Invention (scitechdaily.com)

 

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