Season 3 – Episode 4 The Li-ion battery – best in class and winner of the Nobel prize

How does a Li-ion battery differ from the ones you use in a torch? What makes it so special that its development even was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2019? And what’s the deal with the whiskers?

In this episode of Science on surfaces we talk to Prof. Erik Berg about the fascinating area of Li-ion batteries. Prof. Berg is Associate senior lecturer and Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory, and Structural Chemistry at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Prof. Berg takes us on an interesting and educational journey through area of batteries in general, and Li-ion batteries in particular. He teaches us about the five key aspects of battery performance - aspects that are more or less important depending on the intended battery application, but where no single battery type gets top score in all five areas. We also get to learn about the history of battery development - why and how they were invented, how the area has evolved over the years and how scientists have been scouting the periodic table to find suitable battery materials. Prof. Berg explains why the Li-ion battery is so special, and why dendrite formation, or whiskers as they are also called, are so problematic and certainly should be avoided in a battery. And – he shares the story of when he met one of the laureates who was awarded the Nobel prize for the development of this exceptional type of battery.

Thanks for listening! If you are interested in surface science and related topics, you should also check out our blog -  the Surface Science blog