LiFePO4 is a natural mineral of the olivine family. Its use as a battery electrode was first described in published literature by John Goodenough's research group at the University of Texas in 1996,[1][2] as a cathode material for rechargeable lithium batteries. Because of its low cost, non-toxicity, the high abundance of iron, its excellent thermal stability, safety characteristics, electrochemical performance, and specific capacity (170 mA·h/g, or 610 C/g) it gained some market acceptance.[3][4] Its key barrier to commercialization was intrinsically low electrical conductivity. This problem, however, was then overcome by reducing the particle size, coating the LiFePO4 particles with conductive materials such as carbon, and doping[3] the result with cations of materials such as aluminium, niobium, and zirconium. This approach was developed by Yet-Ming Chiang and his coworkers at MIT. Products are now in mass production and are used in industrial products by major corporations including Black and Decker's DeWalt brand, the Fisker Karma, Daimler, Cessna and BAE Systems.[citation needed] MIT has introduced a new coating that allows the ions to move more easily within the battery. The "Beltway Battery" utilizes a bypass system that allows the lithium-ions to enter and leave the battery at a speed great enough to fully charge a battery in under a minute. The scientists discovered that by coating particles of lithium iron phosphate in a glassy material called lithium pyrophosphate, ions bypass the channels and move faster than in other batteries. Rechargeable batteries store up and discharge energy as charged atoms, known as ions, from between two electrodes called the anode and the cathode. Their charge and discharge rate are restricted by the speed with which these ions move. Such technology could reduce the weight and size of the batteries. A small prototype battery cell has been developed that can fully charge in 10 to 20 seconds, compared with six minutes for standard battery cells.[5]

References [1]-[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery