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

Resources with Additional Information · Awards · Patents

John B. Goodenough
Photo Credit: Courtesy of
The University of Texas at
Austin Cockrell School of

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. 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.'1

'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. 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.'2

Dr. Goodenough's 'research into the relationships between the chemistry, structure, and electronic/ionic properties of solids addresses fundamental solid state problems in order to design new materials that can enable an engineering function. For example, his work on ionic transport in solid electrolytes and on mixed electronic/ionic conductors has enabled realization of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery used in cellular telephones and laptop computers; it also continues to provide alternative materials for the realization of a medium-temperature solid oxide fuel cell and an oxygen-permeation membrane.'3

He is associated with the Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies (BATT) Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).4


Resources with Additional Information

Additional information about John Goodenough, the rechargeable lithium ion battery, and related research is available in electronic documents and on the Web.



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