Kennedy Research Group

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Meet the Group

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Principal Investigator

Dr Tadhg Kennedy - PI

Dr Tadhg Kennedy is a Lecturer in Environmental Technology and PI in the Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute in the University of Limerick. Dr Kennedy is an expert in the development of nanostructured materials for Li-ion and Na-ion batteries. His specific research interests lie in the development of nanostructured alloying anode materials. Dr Kennedy has been successful in securing >€2.4M from national, international and industry sources as either PI or co-applicant in the last 3 years. He is coordinator of the TRIDENT project, which has received €3.65 million in funding from the Irish Government through the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. The goal of the project is to develop a low-cost, high-performance sodium-ion smart battery system for residential energy storage. He is also PI on a number of other battery related projects including a grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for low-cost battery development for grid-scale storage of intermittent renewable energy. Dr Kennedy’s other research interests lie in the development of polymer nanocomposites with enhanced electrical properties. He also is actively researching the development of a nanostructured biosensor for detection of viral pathogens. 

Current Group Members

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Marina Moraes Leite - Postdoc

Dr Marina Moraes Leite – Postdoctoral Researcher

Marina received her education in Chemistry at the University of São Paulo (Brazil). As an undergrad researcher and later as a master candidate, she worked with different methods for synthesis of ceramic materials and their characterization. Her PhD thesis was on the study of sodium titanate nanomaterials produced by an alkaline hydrothermal method. These materials were then applied as negative electrodes in sodium-ion batteries during Marina’s first postdoctoral fellowship. Since then, electrochemistry and battery research have become her main research interest. She joined Dr Tadhg Kennedy’s group to work in the TRIDENT project to develop a sustainable sodium-ion battery for grid applications.

Dr Fernando Otero Díez - Postdoc

Dr Fernando Otero Díez – Postdoctoral Researcher

Fernando Otero Díez completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and an international master’s degree in Molecular Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). In 2022, he completed his PhD studies on the development of electrochemical biosensors for DNA and NADH at the University of Limerick. He is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher on the development of sustainable anode materials for sodium-ion batteries. His current research interests focus on development of sodium-ion batteries, electrode preparation, additive manufacturing, surface chemistry and characterization.

Dr Chandra Sekhar Sale - Postdoc

Dr Chandra Sekhar – Postdoctoral Researcher

Chandra received his Bachelor’s degree from Sri Krishnadevaraya University, India, and his Master’s degree from the Department of Physics, Sri Venkateswara University, India. In 2020, he obtained a Ph.D. degree from Kyung Hee University (Global Campus), Republic of Korea, in the development of nanomaterials for energy storage applications. During his Ph.D., he focussed on the development of flexible electrodes and versatile functional nanomaterials for both Supercaps and Li-ion battery applications. He, then, started as a Postdoc in the same lab and worked on the development of catalytically-active nanomaterials for water splitting applications. He is presently working as a postdoc in Dr. Tadhg Kennedy’s group at the University of Limerick, Ireland on the TRIDENT project to develop a grid-ready, sustainable sodium-ion smart battery for stationary storage applications.

Amit Kumar

Dr Amit Kumar – Postdoctoral Researcher

Amit completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and M.Tech. in Chemical Synthesis and Process Technology from the University of Delhi, India. He obtained his MS and Ph.D. in Materials Science from Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan. During his Ph.D. he worked on the synthesis of high-performance polymers from biomass. He was awarded MEXT Scholarship from the Japanese Government during his Ph.D. He has worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Delhi where he not only taught undergrad students but also guided them in research projects. In 2019, he joined JAIST, Japan as Research Assistant Professor where he carried forward his Ph.D. work and also guided Masters and Ph.D. students in Professor Tatsuo Kaneko laboratory. Later he worked as Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia, where he worked with Ing. Igor Lacik, DrSc. on functional polymer surfaces with a focus on surface modification and the study of the properties of biocompatible particles. He is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Chemical Sciences, Bernal Institute, University of Limerick in Dr. Tadhg Kennedy’s group working on an industry driven project titled “Characterisation and optimization of the curing of benzocyclobutene for semiconductor applications.

Dr M. Balasubramaniam - Postdoc

Dr. M. Balasubramaniam – Postdoctoral Researcher

Bala studied Physics at undergraduate level and Nanoscience and Technology at postgraduate level before obtaining his PhD in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the University of Madras, India. Dr. M. Balasubramaniam is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Chemical Sciences, Bernal Institute, University of Limerick, within the research team of Dr. Tadhg Kennedy, in the project entitled “Innovative Polymer Nanocomposite Formulations for High Performance Digital Isolation”. During his PhD research career, he have obtained adequate knowledge and hands on experience in preparing different types of novel nanostructures and nanocomposites by using various chemical methodologies for supercapacitor application and published more than 15 papers in international journals related to electrochemistry. Moreover, he have handling experience in High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope (HRTEM) and Electrochemical workstation. His primary focus in the current research involves the development of (3-Aminopropyl)triethoxysilane and N1-(3-Trimethoxysilylpropyl)diethylenetriamine functionalized nanostructures such as Silica, Zinc Oxide and Graphene for the fabrication of polyimide based nanocomposites. 

Postgraduate Researchers

Imadeddine Benfridja - PhD Student

Imadeddine Benfridja – PhD Student

Imadeddine Benfridja studied Electrical engineering at undergraduate level and obtained his MSc degree in electromagnetic compatibility in University of Jijel, Algeria. In 2018 he obtained a MSc degree in Power Integration and Materials from the University of Paul Sabatier Toulouse. Imadeddine Benfridja is currently a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Sciences, Bernal Institute, University of Limerick, within the research team of Dr. Tadhg Kennedy, working on the project entitled “Innovative Polymer Nanocomposite Formulations for High Performance Digital Isolation”, in conjunction with LAPLACE Institute in Toulouse, France, and the semiconductor company, Analog Devices Inc. in Raheen, Ireland.
His primary focus involves the development of (3-Aminopropyl)triethoxysilane and N1-(3-Trimethoxysilylpropyl)diethylenetriamine functionalized nanostructures such as silica, zinc oxide and graphene for the fabrication of polyimide based nanocomposites. The functionalized nanostructures are characterized using FT-IR, SEM, TEM, Zeta-sizer, Zeta potential and Raman Spectroscopy to validate its physicochemical properties and its further processing. Functionalised particles are used to prepare polyimide nanocomposites to investigate the effect of functionalization on composites properties. The nanocomposites are subsequently electrically characterized using dielectric spectroscopy, breakdown, and conductivity testing.

Stephen O'Sullivan - PhD Student

Stephen O’Sullivan – PhD Student

Stephen’s research is focused on developing cost-effective and environmentally friendly sodium ion batteries (NIBs). The primary application for this technology is in battery energy stationary storage (BESS), to aid curtailment issues commonly associated with solar and wind energy. Sodium is promising as an alternative to lithium for such applications due to being far cheaper and more abundant.
During his PhD, he aims to develop and demonstrate a high-capacity sodium ion battery, including anode, cathode, and electrolyte. In developing these components, materials will be selected to play into the inherent strengths of NIBs by choosing abundant and cheap solutions. Materials are also selected to keep in theme with the environmentally friendly side of the project as the end goal is to produce technology that will eventually contribute to renewable energy infrastructure. An important part of the design of both the anode and cathode materials in his work is the application of nanotechnology that has previously been developed by the group and applying it to NIBs in a novel way to give the batteries the best opportunity to out-perform current NIB technology and rival commercial LIBs. Instead of low specific capacity hard carbon anodes typically associated with NIB anodes, alloying materials will be used in conjunction with nanomaterials. This will allow the battery to benefit from the high capacity offered by alloying metals, while bespoke nanoarchitectures will help mitigate pulverisation which has thus far hindered the application of these materials. Similarly, nano structuring will be used in the cathode to help improve the poor conductivity and sluggish performance associated with materials such as sodium iron sulphate.

Adrian Hannon - PhD Student

Adrian Hannon – PhD Student

Adrian completed his undergraduate degree, 2014-18, in applied physics at NUIGalway, focusing his interest on nanotechnology and properties of materials, as well as doing several summer research internships. Following this, in 2018-19, he completed a scholarship funded master’s degree in advanced engineering of materials at the University of Limerick. Here, Adrian focused further on nano-structured materials and synthesis for electrical applications, as well as a range of characterisation techniques. Towards the end of his masters, Adrian began working for Analog Devices International (ADI) in their department for molecular sensing. Here, he worked on the modelling, design, fabrication, and characterisation of various sensing technologies with their research and development team. After developing this well-rounded, industry-focused skillset with ADI, Adrian left to commence his Ph.D. research studies under the supervision of Dr Tadhg Kennedy and Dr Kieran McGourty in November of 2020, at the Bernal Labs in the University of Limerick.

Adrian’s thesis work focuses on the development of an electrochemical biosensing platform. The research is multidisciplinary in its approach, incorporating elements of nanotechnology, electro- and biochemistry, material science, and immunology. The project tackles the various components of the device platform with a layer-by-layer approach. These components include:

  • The electrode architecture, synthesising and analysing a range of micro- and nano-structures for surface modification and sensitivity enhancement.
  • The bioreceptor immobilization methods for greater orientation, selectivity, and stability when detecting the target analyte.
  • The electrochemical transducer mechanism, developing a low limit of detection and improved signal quality, compared to current standards.
Misbah Mushtaq - PhD student

Misbah Mushtaq – PhD Student

Misbah Mushtaq was born in Pakistan and graduated from the Bahauddin Zakriya University Multan receiving a Master degree in Physical Chemistry. She is currently working in Dr Kennedy’s group in UL as a PhD researcher. Misbah’s research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries.

Sumair Imtiaz - PhD Student (Primary supervisor is Prof Kevin M Ryan)

Sumair Imtiaz – PhD Student (Co-supervised with Prof Kevin M Ryan)

Sumair Imtiaz received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering with first class honors from University of Gujrat, Pakistan in 2012.  He then worked as a Lab Engineer in a tyre and tube industry for about 1.5 years. In 2014, he was awarded with Chinese Government Scholarship and joined University of Jinan, Shandong, China for his Master’s degree. His master’s research work was mainly focused on synthesis of biomass derived carbon based cathode materials and separator modification for Lithium-Sulfur batteries. Since December 2018, he has been working at the Nanotechnology group of UL as a PhD researcher, having received funding from the SFI and MaREI. His doctoral research work focuses on synthesis, characterization, and application of alloying-type anode materials for advanced lithium and beyond lithium-ion batteries.

In his free time, he loves to play and watch cricket and spend time with family and friends.

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Past Group Members

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