John B. Goodenough, Cathode Materials, and Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries

John B. Goodenough, Cathode Materials, and Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries

John Bannister Goodenough (born of U. S. parents in Jena, Germany, 25 July 1922) is an American professor and prominent solid-state physicist. He is currently a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Texas at Austin. He is widely credited for the identification and development of the Li-ion rechargeable battery as well as for developing the Goodenough-Kanamori rules for determining the sign of the magnetic super exchange in materials.

Dr. Goodenough, a physicist, identified and developed the cathode materials for the lithium-ion rechargeable battery that is ubiquitous in today’s portable electronic devices. This material has proven to be inexpensive, environmentally friendly, safe, sustainable, and capable of thousands of charge cycles with a constant output voltage without a loss of capacity. Batteries incorporating this cathode material are used worldwide for cell phones and other portable wireless devices, power tools, hybrid automobiles, small all-electric vehicles, as well as increasingly for electrical energy storage for alternative energy, such as wind and solar power.

'Dr. John Goodenough invented lithium cobalt oxide cathode materials while at Oxford University. His technology was used in the first commercial Li-ion battery, launched by SONY in 1991 and is still used in portable electronics.

More recently, at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Goodenough patented a new class of iron phosphate materials with potential to replace the more costly cobalt materials.

In 2000, he received the prestigious Japan Prize for his discoveries of the materials critical to the development of lightweight rechargeable batteries. On September 17, 2009, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu named John B. Goodenough as a winner of the Enrico Fermi Award ' in recognition for his lasting contributions to materials science and technology, especially the science underlying lithium-ion batteries. In 2014 he received the Charles Stark Draper Prize for his contributions to the lithium-ion battery.

Nobel odds makers think it’s time to honor the 93-year-old father of the lithium-ion battery. His innovation enabled the entire age of portable electronic devices. For his part, Goodenough has said that he doesn’t spend time thinking about the prize. Let’s wait and watch.