Battery Solutions

Explaining Lithium-ion Chemistries

Li-ion batteries come in many varieties but all have one thing in common — the catchword “lithium-ion.” Although strikingly similar at first glance, these batteries vary in performance, and it’s mostly the cathode material that gives then their unique personality.

Unless you are a chemist, the names of the materials in a lithium-ion battery can get confusing. This article provides clarity by listing six of the most common lithium-ion batteries and giving examples of typical uses. Their full chemical names and colloquial short names are summarized in Table 1 below.

  Chemical NameMaterial  Abbreviation  Short Form  Applications 
Lithium Cobalt Oxide* Also Lithium Cobalate or lithium-ion-cobalt)   LiCoO2
(60% Co)
LCO 

Li-cobalt 

Cell phone laptop, camera 

Lithium 
Manganese Oxide* 

Also Lithium Manganate 
or lithium-ion-manganese

LiMn2O4

LMO

Li-manganese, or spinel

Power tools, 
e-bikes, EV, medical, hobbyist

Lithium 
Iron Phosphate*

LiFePO4

LFP

Li-phosphate

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide*, also lithium-manganese-cobalt-oxide

LiNiMnCoO2
(10–20% Co)

NMC

NMC

Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide*

LiNiCoAlO2
9% Co)

NCA

NCA

Gaining importance 
in electric powertrain and grid storage

Lithium Titanate**

Li4Ti5O12

LTO

Li-titanate

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