An alkali metal manganese oxide secondary cell is disclosed which can provide a high rate of discharge, good cycling capabilities, good stability of the cathode material, high specific energy (energy per unit of weight) and high energy density (energy per unit volume). The active material in the anode is an alkali metal and the active material in the cathode comprises an orthorhombic alkali metal manganese oxide which undergoes intercalation and deintercalation without a change in phase, resulting in a substantially linear change in voltage with change in the state of charge of the cell. The active material in the cathode is an orthorhombic structure having the formula M.sub.x Z.sub.y Mn.sub.(1-y) O.sub.2, where M is an alkali metal; Z is a metal capable of substituting for manganese in the orthorhombic structure such as iron, cobalt or titanium; x ranges from about 0.2 in the fully charged state to about 0.75 in the fully discharged state, and y ranges from 0 to 60 atomic %. Preferably, the cell is constructed with a solid electrolyte, but a liquid or gelatinous electrolyte may also be used in the cell.
The invention described herein arose in the course of, or under, Contract No. DE-AC03-SF00098 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. The Government may have rights to the invention.