See More on Facebook

Current affairs

Chemistry Nobel winners laid foundation for mobile society

Akira Yoshino was one of the three researchers who greatly contributed to the development and commercialization of a “dream battery,” laying the foundation of modern society.


Written by

Updated: October 11, 2019

New Nobel Prize winner Akira Yoshino was one of the researchers who greatly contributed to the development and commercialisation of a “dream battery,” which is small, light and rechargeable, and laid the foundation of modern society.

New Nobel Prize winner Akira Yoshino was one of the researchers who greatly contributed to the development and commercialization of a “dream battery,” which is small, light and rechargeable, and laid the foundation of modern society, symbolized by such mobile devices as smartphones and electric vehicles.

Yoshino, 71, an honorary fellow of Asahi Kasei Corp., was named on Wednesday as one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

Origin in 1970s

Lithium-ion batteries had their origins in the 1970s. They were developed by Stanley Whittingham, 77, cowinner of the prize, who used metallic lithium for electrodes to generate voltage exceeding 2 volts. Metallic lithium, however, has not been put into practical use because it can generate heat when it reacts with other substances.

Another co-winner, John Goodenough, 97, found a way to generate even higher voltages. While studying in Britain in 1978, Goodenough worked on the development of materials for electrodes with Koichi Mizushima, 78, an executive fellow of Toshiba Corp. who was studying abroad as an assistant at the University of Tokyo.

Goodenough and Mizushima created a battery that used lithium-cobalt oxide, a lithium compound, as the positive electrode, or cathode. Their battery lasted only a few days but could generate about 4 volts. The researchers published the discovery in 1980. This was the starting point of the lithium-ion battery.

Mizushima released a comment on Wednesday night: “I am very happy that Mr. Goodenough has been awarded the prize. I feel honored to be one of his fellow researchers.”

Commercialization

Yoshino recognized the value of this research after he became involved in the development of rechargeable batteries at Asahi Kasei in 1981.

Yoshino came up with a way to use an electrically conducting plastic called polyacetylene as the negative electrode, or anode. Using lithium-cobalt oxide as the cathode, Yoshino produced a prototype battery that did not require unstable metal lithium.

He also developed a method to miniaturize the battery by using a special carbon fiber developed by Asashi Kasei as the anode. In 1985, he succeeded in recharging the battery. Thus was the prototype of the present lithium-ion battery completed.

In a separate project, Sony Corp. succeeded in mass-producing lithium-ion batteries for the first time in the world. The Sony team, led by Yoshio Nishi, now 77, independently developed an anode using carbon materials. The team applied a technology that was used for making cassette tapes to making thin electrodes with higher efficiency and succeeded in mass production in 1991, five years after it launched the development effort. Lithium-ion batteries have since spread around the world.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs

No to terrorism, communalism

Still smarting from brutal murder of Abrar, Buet students vow to resist repeat of such incidents.  With the murder of Abrar Fahad fresh in everyone’s minds, protesting students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology yesterday took an oath to resist terrorism and communal forces on the campus. “We will collectively prevent the rise of all sorts of terrorist activities and evil communal forces on the campus. Imbued with morality, we will uproot all the discriminatory cultures and abuses of power,” the students said in unison. “Together we will make sure that no innocent life falls apart and the innocent do not fall victim to torture on this university ground.” Several hundred students took the oath in presence of Buet vice-chancellor Prof Saiful Islam, deans of different faculties and provosts of the halls. The programme was


By Daily Star
October 17, 2019

Current affairs

Typhoon death toll rises to 75; 16 missing

Most of the casualties occurred in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. Search and rescue operations are continuing in eastern Japan after record downpours in the wake of Typhoon No. 19 caused widespread devastation in the region. According to data collected by The Yomiuri Shimbun, as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the disaster had claimed the lives of 75 people in 12 prefectures and 16 people were missing. The Tohoku region has seen extensive casualties with more than half of the victims killed in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. In Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, floodwater in the central part of the town has started to recede but some areas are still underwater. The full scale of the damage is yet to be established. In areas where embankments had been breached, search and rescue operations are continuing round the clock, as the survival rate of trapped victims is said to


By The Japan News
October 16, 2019

Current affairs

Typhoon Hagibis kills over 50, many still missing

Japan has deployed at least 100,000 security personnel in search and rescue operations. Powerful Typhoon No. 19 devastated parts of eastern Japan as it plowed across the Tokai, Kanto and Tohoku regions and passed over the Pacific Ocean on early Sunday morning. According to a Yomiuri Shimbun tally, as of 3 p.m. on Monday, the typhoon had claimed the lives of 52 people in 11 prefectures, with 168 people injured. Sixteen people are missing. The typhoon caused the Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture and the Abukuma River in Fukushima Prefecture to burst their banks, flooding many houses in low-lying areas. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan has released a map of affected areas, indicating the depth of flooding around rivers. Flooding is believed to have reached a maximum depth of about 4.3 meters near the Chikuma River and 5.2 meters near the Abukuma


By The Japan News
October 15, 2019

Current affairs

Student murder fallout: University can ban student politics if it wants, says Bangladesh PM

Protests have flared in the wake of the murder of a student at a prominent Bangladesh university over a Facebook post critical of Dhaka’s water-sharing deal with India, allegedly by members of the ruling party’s student wing; PM Sheikh Hasina has responded by saying the university can ban student politics on campus if it wants and clarified the terms of the India pact. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the authorities of Bangladesh university of engineering and technology (Buet) can ban student politics on the campus if the university wants to do it. “If Buet thinks, it can ban (student politics). We will not interfere,” she said responding to query about her stance over the recent demand of banning student politics following Buet student Abrar Fahad’s murder. The premier, however, ruled out the possibility of banning student politics in the country saying that student politics canno


By Daily Star
October 10, 2019

Current affairs

‘Time to focus on people to create sustainable community with ASEAN’

A deeper understanding of member-states’ cultures is the key, says Secretary-General of ASEAN-Korea Center. People-oriented diplomacy will empower South Korea’s pursuit of stronger partnership with Southeast Asian nations, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-Korea Center Lee Hyuk said. “We need to make efforts to get to know and respect ASEAN through deep understanding of their cultures and people in order to create an intimate community,” he said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald at the ASEAN-Korea Center in Seoul. The United States’ “America First” policy and similar policies adopted by China and Russia have led Korea to seek to strengthen its strategic leverage beyond its major partners. “The era has come where reinforcing relations and developing cooperation with ASEAN countries perfectly fit the interests of South Korea, which seeks to open up a new diplomatic horizon,


By The Korea Herald
October 9, 2019

Current affairs

Court junks ill-gotten wealth case against Marcoses

Court rejects government effort to recover more than P1 billion worth of art, property and investments from the family and associates of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, saying the state failed to prove its case. The Sandiganbayan Second Division has rejected a government effort to recover more than P1 billion worth of art, property and investments from the family and associates of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, saying the state failed to prove its case. In a ruling dated Sept. 25 but released only on Tuesday, the antigraft court said Marcos and his wife, Imelda, as well as Rustan’s Commercial Corp. founders Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. and Gliceria Tantoco, are not liable for P1.052 billion in alleged ill-gotten wealth. The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) brought the case in March 1988, alleging that the Tantocos and Dominador Santiago, the former chair of Tourist Duty Free Shops


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
October 9, 2019