Akira Yoshino

Akira Yoshino (吉野 彰, Yoshino Akira, born 30 January 1948) is a Japanese chemist. He is a fellow of Asahi Kasei Corporation and a professor at Meijo University in Nagoya. He created the first safe, production-viable lithium-ion battery[1] which became used widely in cellular phones and notebook computers. Yoshino was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019 alongside M. Stanley Whittingham and John B. Goodenough.[1]

Akira Yoshino
Akira Yoshino
Native name
吉野 彰
Born (1948-01-30) 30 January 1948
EducationKyoto University (BS, MS)
Osaka University (PhD)
AwardsIEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies (2012)
Global Energy Prize (2013)
Charles Stark Draper Prize (2014)
Japan Prize (2018)
Nobel Prize (2019)
Scientific career
InstitutionsAsahi Kasei
Meijo University
InfluencesKenichi Fukui
John B. Goodenough

Early life and education

Yoshino was born in Suita, Japan, on 30 January 1948.[2] He graduated from Kitano High School in Osaka City (1966). [3] He earned a B.S. (1970) and an M.S. (1972) in engineering from Kyoto University, and earned a doctorate in engineering from Osaka University in 2005.[4][5]

During his college years, Yoshino had attended a course taught by Kenichi Fukui, the first Asian to become a Nobel Laureate in chemistry.[6]


Yoshino spent his entire non-academic career at Asahi Kasei Corporation.[7] Immediately after graduating with his master's degree in 1972, Yoshino began working at Asahi Kasei.[8] He began work in the Kawasaki Laboratory in 1982 and was promoted to manager of product development for ion batteries in 1992.[8] In 1994, he became manager of technical development for the LIB manufacturer A&T Battery Corp.,[8] a joint venture company of Asahi Kasei and Toshiba. Asahi Kasei made him a fellow in 2003 and, in 2005, general manager of his own laboratory.[8] Since 2017, he has been a professor at Meijo University and his status at Asahi Kasei has changed to honorary fellow.[8]


In 1981 Yoshino began research on rechargeable batteries using polyacetylene.[9] Polyacetylene is the electroconductive polymer discovered by Hideki Shirakawa, who later (in 2000) would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for its discovery.[8]

In 1983 Yoshino fabricated a prototype rechargeable battery using lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) (discovered in 1979 by Godshall et al. at Stanford University,[10][11][12] and John Goodenough and Koichi Mizushima at Oxford University) as cathode and polyacetylene as anode.[8] This prototype, in which the anode material itself contains no lithium, and lithium ions migrate from the LiCoO2 cathode into the anode during charging, was the direct precursor to the modern lithium-ion battery (LIB).[8]

Polyacetylene had low real density which meant high capacity required large battery volume, and also had problems with instability, so Yoshino switched to carbonaceous material as anode and in 1985 fabricated the first prototype of the LIB and received the basic patent.[8][13][14]

This was the birth of the current lithium-ion battery.[8]

The LIB in this configuration was commercialized by Sony in 1991 and by A&T Battery in 1992.[15] Yoshino described challenges and history of the invention process in a book chapter from 2014.[16]

Yoshino discovered that carbonaceous material with a certain crystalline structure was suitable as anode material,[13][14] and this is the anode material that was used in the first generation of commercial LIBs. Yoshino developed the aluminum foil current collector[17] which formed a passivation layer to enable high cell voltage at low cost, and developed the functional separator membrane[18] and the use of a positive temperature coefficient (PTC) device[19] for additional safety.[8]

The LIB’s coil-wound structure was conceived by Yoshino to provide large electrode surface area and enable high current discharge despite the low conductivity of the organic electrolyte.[8]

In 1986 Yoshino commissioned the manufacture of a batch of LIB prototypes.[8] Based on safety test data from those prototypes, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a letter stating that the batteries were different from the metallic lithium battery.[20]



  1. Specia, Megan (9 October 2019). "Nobel Prize in Chemistry Honors Work on Lithium-Ion Batteries - John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino were recognized for research that has "laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society."". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  2. "経歴書" (PDF). Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  3. "ニュース | 78期吉野彰氏 ノーベル化学賞受賞 -六稜WEB" (in Japanese). Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  4. "Akira Yoshino: Inventing The Lithium Ion Battery". 1 June 2018.
  5. Profile of Akira Yoshino and Overview of His Invention of the Lithium-ion Battery
  6. 芦原千晶 (30 September 2018). "<あの頃> リチウムイオン電池開発の研究者・吉野彰さん". 中日新聞. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  7. "Profile of Dr. Akira Yoshino" (PDF). Asahi Kasei. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  8. "Profile of Akira Yoshino, Dr.Eng., and Overview of His Invention of the Lithium-ion Battery" (PDF). Asahi Kasei. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  9. Fehrenbacher, Katie (26 April 2018). "A conversation with a lithium-ion battery pioneer". GreenBiz. Retrieved 10 October 2019. It was over 35 years ago, in 1981, when I started my research on batteries....This research initiative started not fully focused on batteries. It started from the study on polyacetylene
  10. N. A. Godshall, I. D. Raistrick, and R. A. Huggins, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Abstract 162, Vol. 126, p. 322C; "Thermodynamic Investigations of Ternary Lithium-Transition Metal-Oxide Systems for Lithium Batteries" (August 1979).
  11. N. A. Godshall, I. D. Raistrick, and R. A. Huggins, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Extended Abstract 162, Vol. 79-2, pp. 420-422; "Thermodynamic Investigations of Ternary Lithium-Transition Metal-Oxide Systems for Lithium Batteries" (October 1979).
  12. Ned A. Godshall, "Electrochemical and Thermodynamic Investigation of Ternary Lithium -Transition Metal-Oxide Cathode Materials for Lithium Batteries: Li2MnO4 spinel, LiCoO2, and LiFeO2", Presentation at 156th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society, Los Angeles, CA, (17 October 1979).
  13. US 4668595, Yoshino; Akira, "Secondary Battery", issued 9 May 1986, assigned to Ashahi Kasei, Priority Data 10 May 1985, by Espacenet Patent search
  15. Masaki Yoshio, Akiya Kozawa, and Ralph J. Brodd (2009). "Introduction: Development of Lithium-Ion Batteries" (PDF). Springer. p. xvii. Retrieved 10 October 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. Yoshino, Akira (2014). Lithium-Ion Batteries: Advances and Applications, chapter 1 (1 ed.). Elsevier. p. 1–20. ISBN 978-0-444-59513-3. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  17. "Article of Tech-On". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012., JP 2128922, Yoshino; Akira, "Nonaqueous secondary Battery", Application date 28 May 1984, issued 2 May 1997, assigned to Asahi Kasei
  18. "JP 2642206"., Yoshino; Akira, "Battery", Application date 28 May 1989, issued 2 May 1997, assigned to Asahi Kasei
  19. "JP 3035677"., Yoshino; Akira, " Secondary battery equipped with safety element", Application date 13 September 1991, issued 25 February 2000, assigned to Asahi Kasei
  20. Lithium-ion secondary battery (Japanese) 2nd edition, chapter2 "History of development of lithium-ion secondary battery", P27-33, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (1996)
  21. "MST 山崎貞一賞 - トップページ". www.mst.or.jp.
  22. "NEC C&C Foundation". www.candc.or.jp.
  23. The reason for the award-winning of the IEEE Medal and prize winners, John B. Goodenough and Rachid Yazami were awarded jointly.
  24. "Russia honors lithium-ion scientist". 23 June 2013 via Japan Times Online.
  25. "UT Austin's John B. Goodenough Wins Engineering's Highest Honor for Pioneering Lithium-Ion Battery". 6 January 2014. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  26. Lee, Bruce Y. "10 Lessons On How To Innovate From This Year's Japan Prize Winners".
  27. Office, European Patent. "Akira Yoshino (JP)". www.epo.org.
  28. CNN, Allen Kim. "'Mario Bros.' creator Shigeru Miyamoto to be given one of Japan's highest honors". CNN. Retrieved 30 October 2019.

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