Dr Lorcan McKeon
Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr McKeon received his undergraduate degree in Experimental Physics from Trinity College Dublin in 2010, and received his PhD in Physics, under the supervision of Prof. Valeria Nicolosi in 2019. His thesis focussed on the use of inkjet printing of energy storage devices, both at the micro scale for materials characterisation, and macro scale devices for electrochemical performance testing.

He joined I-Form in 2020, working on the further development of 2D/3D printing techniques for layered materials. This work primarily aims to develop energy storage devices and circuits on non-rigid and non-metallic substrates, such as paper, fabrics and polymers.

Research Interests (Lay Summary)

At I-Form, Dr McKeon’s work focusses on the printing of two-dimensional nanomaterials for the manufacture of energy storage systems, either batteries or supercapacitors.

The printing of nanomaterial-based inks allows for a combination of ultrathin 2D components to be printed alongside complex 3D patterns. This process not only allows for unusual, complex or unconventional shapes, but also allows for devices and circuits to de directly deposited onto a range of substrates such as paper, fabrics and polymers whose flexibility or heat sensitivity would ordinarily limit their use. This is particularly useful given the proliferation of wearable sensors and electronics such as heart-rate monitors and fitness trackers.

 

Technical Summary

Two-Dimensional Nanomaterials have received intense research focus since the lab isolation of Graphene in 2004. This class of materials exhibit a range of unusual electronic properties that make them particularly attractive in the field of electronics. With liquid phase exfoliated (LPE) materials, a primary issue has been how to manufacture complex designs and patterns from the largely liquid nanomaterial suspension, or inks. Additive manufacturing techniques have provided an excellent avenue for the use of these materials.

A balance must be struck between maintaining the electronic properties of the materials we use, such as conductivity and capacitance, and the physical properties such as viscosity and surface tension that will allow for them to be effectively deposited via AM methods. A careful analysis of these properties is required to produce the highest performing inks. These inks can then be utilised to produce both planar and three-dimensional energy storage devices on flexible and transparent polymers. This allows for far more robust and varied use than the traditional rolled or sandwiched designs traditionally associated with Li ion batteries and commercially produced supercapacitors. Device performance will be analysed with a view to identifying configurations that provide high power and energy density, along side investigations into how seamlessly devices can be integrated into packaging, fabrics and other circuits.

Expertise

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), Advanced Manufacturing, Multi-material Jetting, Materials Characterisation, Nanotechnology

Publications