Kennedy Research Group

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Meet the Group

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

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. 

Kieran McCarthy - PhD Student

Kieran McCarthy – PhD Student

Kieran studied Physical Education (with Chemistry) in the University of Limerick before going on to undertake his PhD studies on the application of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy for battery monitoring applications. In order to keep pace with the growing requirements of LIBs, improvements in the monitoring of battery states must be achieved. Kieran’s work aims to develop and explore the use of the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) as a novel characterization tool for the estimation of battery state of charge, state of health and internal temperature. The end-goal is the practical implementation of an EIS capable device in real-world BMS applications.

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.
Seamus Killian - PhD Student(Primary supervisor is Prof Kevin M Ryan)

Seamus Kilian – PhD Student (Co-supervised with Prof Kevin M Ryan)

Seamus graduated from UCD in 2016 with a BSc in Physics. He completed a master’s degree in Nanotechnology at UCD in 2017 with his thesis titled “Inducing IR photon up-conversion via SPP excitation for the enhancement of solar-cell efficiencies”. Upon completing his master’s degree, Seamus joined the Nanotechnology group at the Bernal institute as a PhD student under the supervision of Prof Kevin Ryan and Dr Tadhg Kennedy. His work primarily focuses on developing low-cost and scalable synthesis routes of silicon nanowires for Li-ion battery applications.

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.

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=C_8L01YAAAAJ&hl=en

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7288-2987

Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sumair-Imtiaz

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sumair-imtiaz/?originalSubdomain=ie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sumairimtiaz?lang=en

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