Hardwick Group




Building International Networks with Researchers in Taiwan

Director of SIRE, Professor Laurence Hardwick, has returned from an invited lecture tour of Taiwan’s Universities and Research Centres that specialise in electrochemical and battery research. The tour took him to Ming Chi University of Technology, National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (YunTech), National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech) and the Sustainable Electrochemical Energy Development (SEED) Centre.

The visit marked an eleven-year relationship with Taiwan through the University of Liverpool (UoL)-NTHU dual PhD programme and Professor Hardwick delivered an overview of the work of the five joint PhD students who have graduated from this scheme all with co-supervision from Professor Chi-Chang Hu in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Professor Hardwick stated “it has been a fantastic and rewarding opportunity to have been intensely involved in this international training network from its inception as the initial supervisory team. The five graduating students have gone on to academic or industrial positions in Taiwan and Thailand in fields including battery technology and semiconductors. Whenever I highlight this dual PhD programme between UoL and NTHU with colleagues at other Universities around the world they are always complementary how forward looking it is and beneficial for establishing long-term collaborations. I remain very grateful how UoL-NTHU scheme has assisted in establishing a long-lasting international partnership”.

Laurence Hardwick Lecture Tour Taiwan

Professor Hardwick delivering talks at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (YunTech), National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech).

Laurence Hardwick outside the SEED centre at TaiwanTech with Dr Anna Windmüller, Professor Wei-Nien Su and Dr. Chih-Han Yen (former UoL-NTHU Dual PhD graduate).


On 15th November the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (SIRE), where the Hardwick Group is based, held an event to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.  The Group were all in attendance together with some alumni and it was good to see so many familiar faces.

Much innovation was on show with talks from around the globe starting in Taiwan, then Japan and finishing in Oregon, US. We heard about numerous world records in solar cell efficiencies, advanced spectroscopy to study the orientation of complex proteins on surfaces, development of aqueous rechargeable Zn-ion cells and the underpinning theory for controlling photochemistry in space and much more besides.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Jones was in attendance and officially opened a new Sustainable Fuels Laboratory, touring SIRE’s solar and electrochemistry research laboratories and delivering the welcome address.

There were 30+ posters on display showcasing the work of SIRE’s present generation of PhDs and PDRAs, with lively discussions in the coffee and lunch breaks. Congratulations to the best poster prize winners: Baltazar Correa Mendes Pereira Guedes (Probing the Structure of the Electrochemical Interface) and Hardwick Group member Dr Alex Neale (Operando Kerr Gated Raman Spectroscopy to Probe the High States of Charge in Graphite Electrodes for Li-ion Batteries).

Alex Neale receiving poster prize

Alex Neale being presented with his poster prize at the SIRE 10th Anniversary event


The Faraday Discussion on 'Rechargeable non-aqueous metal-oxygen batteries' took place 18th to 20th of September and was attended by several members of the Hardwick Group.  Group member Lucy Walters was awarded the poster prize.

 Laurence Hardwick and Alex Neale presenting at York

Flash poster presentation, Alex Neale

A photo of Lucy Walters being awarded her poster prize

Well done to Lucy for winning the poster prize.


Many congratulations to Thukshan Samarakoon for winning the department poster prize at the Chemistry Postgraduate Research Symposium 2023 which took place on 27th and 28th July.

Thukshan Samarakoon being awarded his prize


Congratulation to Group member Chih-Han Yen (Winston) on the successful completion of his PhD.  Winston was a joint PhD student between the National Tsing University (Taiwan) and the University of Liverpool.  Professor Hardwick visited Taiwan for Winston’s viva/presentation.

Photo of Laurence Hardwick and Winston following PhD success


Well done to Lucy Walters for winning best poster at the Universy of Liverpool's PGR symposium.

Phot of Lucy Walters standing by her poster


On Thursday 14th July 2022, Electrochemistry North West was held in the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy with some 85 participants. It was brought about through the hard work and organisation of Hardwick Group’s Dr Alex Neale along with Dr Mangayarkarasi Nagarathinam (Lancaster University) and Dr Hussain Al Nasser (University of Manchester).

The day kicked off with refreshments and a morning full of interesting and thoughtful talks chaired by Professor Laurence Hardwick. Dr Nuria Garcia-Araez (University of Southampton) started this session as the invited speaker and gave a great in-depth and eye-opening talk about ‘Fundamental Developments of Next Generation of Batteries and Lithium Production Methods’.

During lunch, the poster session, which featured over 20 posters, was in full swing.  There were many discussions challenging the minds of each poster presenter, in addition to sharing ideas and knowledge. Group member Rory Powell took second place in the poster competition for his poster ‘Atomic Layer vs. Sol-Gel Deposited Coatings for Long Cycle-life Li-ion Cathodes’ which was judged by the exhibitors Alvatek, BioLogic Science Instruments, Cellerate, Hiden Analytical, and Metrohm; who also put on marvellous displays of their products and services as well as providing sponsorship and prizes for the day.  Support was also received by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) Applied Materials Chemistry Group and by the RSC Electrochemistry Interest Group.

In the afternoon, Dr Alex Neale chaired the second talks session where invited speaker Dr Kathryn Toghill (Lancaster University) gave an insightful talk into ‘The challenge of electrocatalytic CO2 reduction’. During this session, Group member Julia Fernandez-Vidal gave a talk on ‘Investigating the Presence of Adsorbed Species on Pt Steps at Low Potentials’ and won first place in the afternoon talks competition which was judged by fellow academics in attendance.

Overall, a great day was had by all. There was an amazing and varied turnout of poster presentations and 11 interesting and thought-provoking talks, along with great attendance from those across the North West and beyond.

Julia giving her talk an ECNW

Rory standing by his poster at ECNW 22


Congratulations to PhD Jacqueline Everitt who was awarded a special mention/commendation for her poster at the Johnson Matthey Academic Conference. This is a yearly conference where all the PhD students funded by Johnson Matthey (along with their supervisors) get together and present posters and presentations on their research. The title of her poster was ‘SHINERS for electrochemical and catalytic processes’ which gave a general overview of the analytical technique SHINERS (SHell Isolated Nanoparticles for Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy) and how they can and will be used in electrochemical and catalytic processes.


Many congratulations to Leo (Yi-Ting) Lu in defending his thesis. Arise Dr Lu!

News item phone Yi- Ting (Leo) Lu



The Hardwick Group celebrate Christmas.

Group at their Christmas meal 2021



Congratulations to Dr Hui Gao for passing her PhD viva today - thanks to Haifei Zhang for examining. All the best for your new job in Oxford.

Hardwick Group with Hui Gao  



Dr Alex Neale helped to design the excellent cover art for our article: 'Design Parameters for Ionic Liquid–Molecular Solvent Blend Electrolytes to Enable Stable Li Metal Cycling Within Li–O2 Batteries' (Adv. Funct. Mater. 27/2021)

Full article

Cover of journal



Dr Leo Lu has swept the board and appeared in 3 main Taiwanese news outlets with the publication 'Trapped interfacial redox introduces reversibility in the oxygen reduction reaction in a non-aqueous Ca2+ electrolyte'  in collaboration with Hardwick Group members Dr Alex Neale and Professor Laurence Hardwick, and Dr Chi-Chang Hu from the National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan.  Full article.

photo of Leo Lu in the laboratory



Congratulations to UoL/NTHU PhD student Jui-Yu Pai (Paul) for the publication of his first paper! ‘Engineering of electrospun polyimide separators for electrical double-layer capacitors and lithium-ion cells’  Article.

photo from paper


Research led by the University of Liverpool, in partnership with Johnson Matthey PLC and Loughborough University, is making significant progress in the development of stable and practical electrolytes for lithium-oxygen batteries.

The lithium-oxygen (Li-O2) battery (or lithium-air battery), consisting of Li-metal and a porous conductive framework as its electrode’s releases energy from the reaction of oxygen from the air and lithium. The technology is in its infancy, but in theory could provide much greater energy storage than the conventional lithium-ion battery.

In a paper published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, Professor Laurence Hardwick from the University of Liverpool’s Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (SIRE) and colleagues meticulously characterised and developed electrolyte formulations that significantly minimises side reactions within the battery to enable improved longer cycle stability.

The paper ‘Design Parameters for Ionic Liquid – Molecular Solvent Blend Electrolytes to Enable Stable Li Metal Cycling Within Li-O2 Batteries’ (doi: 10.1002/adfm.202010627) is published in Advanced Functional Materials. Article.

image working in the laboratory



Last Group gathering before Lockdown hit the UK.

A photo of the Hardwick Group



Gathering of the Hardwick Group as of February 2020.

Photo of the Group taken in February 2020



An article has been published with several members of the Hardwick Group as authors on Kerr gated spectroscopy.  The image provided for the journal cover is below and the full article is available here. The Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics homepage link is here

an immage and article re Kerr Gate


Group member Dr Alex Neale presented his work at the 236th ECS Meeting in Atlanta. The Group are researching how to develop more stable liquid electrolytes for lithium anodes and Li-O2 batteries.

Image of Alex Neale with Poster



A very fond farewell to Dr Tom Galloway and we would like to thank him for a great six years of hard work in the Hardwick group! We wish him all the best in his future endeavours. We took this opportunity to get a much awaited group photo! 



Congratulations to now Dr Jose Coca Clemente for passing his viva, defending his thesis titled ''Electrochemical and surface study of lithium-rich transition metal oxides used as cathodes in lithium-ion batteries". We wish him all the best in his new job at CIC Energigune in Spain! 



Congratulations to now Dr Monazza Serwar for defending her PhD thesis "Nitrogen Doped Carbon Materials (NDCMs) from Organic Ionic Salts and Biopolymer Resources for Supercapacitor Application". Monazza was a visiting researcher to the group in 2016 from the Department of Chemistry, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan and her work led to the joint publication:

Template-free Synthesis of Nitrogen doped Carbon Materials from an Organic Ionic Dye (Murexide) For Supercapacitor Application
M. Serwar, U. Ali Rana, H. M. Siddiqi, S. Ud-Din Khan, F. A. Ahmed Ali, A. Al-Fatesh, A. Adomkevicius, J. A. Coca-Clemente, L. Cabo-Fernandez, F. Braga and L. J. Hardwick
RSC Adv., 7 (2017), 54626- 54637 DOI

The group wish Monazza all the best for her future career!



The group enojyed their Christmas celebrations at Blackbeard's Treasurer Escape Hunt in Liverpool. We wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




The Hardwick group wishes Dr Laura Cabo-Fernandez farewell from the group, who finishes her post-doctoral position after many years of hard work. We wish her all the best for the future!



A very fond farewell to Dr Iain Aldous and we would like to thank him for his many years of hard work in the Hardwick group. We wish him all the best in his new post-doctoral position at the University of Leicester.



Congratulations to Filipe, Tom, Petar, Chris and Jyoti for their PhD graduation today!



The group enjoyed their social to 'The Crystal Maze Experience' in Manchester. Everyone had lots of fun collecting crystals from various challenges and enjoyed their time in the legendary crystal dome at the end!



The groups latest work on Na-O2 cells featured on the cover of Chemical Communications (Issue 28, 2018). Read the full publication here.



A big congratulations to Petar Radjenovic for passing his PhD viva, thesis titled ‘Novel ionic liquid based electrolytes for non-aqueous lithium-oxygen batteries’



A big congratulations to Filipe Braga for passing his PhD viva, thesis titled ‘Electrochemical testing of alkali metal-oxygen batteries’



Renishaw highlight our use of Raman spectroscopy in battery research. Read the full article here.

This has also been picked up by a host of news outlets- Spectrscopy Europe AsiaMachining NewsAZO MaterialsSelect Science and Technology Networks.



Jin-Chao Dong returns back to Xiamen University after completing a 2 month placement in the Hardwick group




A big congratulations to Christopher Sole for passing his PhD viva this week.



A big congratulations to Tom Galloway for passing his viva and submitting his thesis titled ‘Shining Light on Electrode Surface’



Professor Jian-Feng Li from Xiamen University visits the Hardwick group



A big congratulations to Arthur Adomkevicius who passed his PhD this week.



Congratulations to Laura Cabo-Fernandez on winning the poster prize at the STFC Batteries Early Career Researchers Conference, Abingdon, March 28-29, 2017. For the poster titled 'Raman investigation of SEI growth on ZnFe2O4: SERS effect from metal particles formed during the conversion reaction'. 


Congratulations to Tom Galloway who received a special commendation at the Johnson Matthey academic conference, Loughborough, April 11-12, 2017. For his talk titled 'SHINing Light on Electrode Interfaces'. 


Laurence has been promoted to Professor in Electrochemistry. Thank you to all members of the research group and our collaborators for their hard work. The group has had a busy year with many exciting results and we look forward to further exciting times ahead.


The group wishes Vivek all the best with his new PostDoc position at the University of Southampton.


All good things come to an end and it is so with the end of the SIRBATT project. The group says goodbye to Glenda as she does a ‘GLEXIT’ from SIRE. But she has not gone far and will take up the new Research and Impact Officer position at the University of Liverpool,  just over the way! 



A big congratulations to Iain Aldous (the mermaid) who passed his PhD viva this week.



A big congratulations to Tzu-Ho (Henry) who passed his PhD viva, completing his dual PhD programme with National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan.




Congratulations to Tzu-Ho (Henry) Wu for winning the student poster award at the 5th International Conference on Advanced Capacitors, Otsu, Japan, May 23–27, 2016. For his poster titled 'The Optimised Design of Ni(OH)2 in Asymmetric Supercapacitors'.


The Hardwick groups says a very fond farewell to Nick Drewett who finishes his post-doctoral position here after three years. We wish him all the best in his new position in Oviedo, Spain.


Congratulations to Christopher Sole for winning the best poster prize at the inaugural ECS North West UK symposion at the University of Manchester for his poster 'In situ Raman study of lithium-ion intercalation into graphite and electrochemically exfoliated few layer graphene'.‌



Invited talk at RSC UK-Korea Symposium on Lithium and Sodium Batteries, London, UK: 'In Situ surface enhanced infrared spectroscopy studies of interfacial processes relevant to non-aqueous lithium-oxygen batteries’.


Our paper has been named as the most read Faraday Discussion paper of 2015

In situ Raman study of lithium-ion intercalation into microcrystalline graphite. Christopher Sole, Nicholas E. Drewett and Laurence J. Hardwick DOI:10.1039/C4FD00079J.



Congratulations to Arthur Adomkevicius for winning the International Society of Electrochemistry Symposium 5 “Novel insights to Electrochemical Capacitors” and the Taiwanese Electrochemistry Society poster awards with his poster entitled: Synthesis and Characterisation of Sodium ion Pre-intercalated Manganese Oxide for High Performance Asymmetric Supercapacitors

Congratulations to Tzu-Ho Wu for winning the International Society of Electrochemistry Symposium 17 “Novel in Situ in Operando Methods” poster award with his poster entitled: Cation Effect on Ni (OH)2 Phase Transformation


Invited talk at ISE Annual Meeting, Taipei: 'In Situ Infrared Spectroscopy on Gold Substrates to Track Film Formation and Intermediates in Li-Ion and Li-Air Electrolytes'. Abstract.


Congratulations to Tzu-Ho (Henry) Wu for winning the prize for the best poster ('In Situ Raman Microscopy Studies on Electrochemically Activated Manganese Oxide Pseudocapacitors') at ElectrochemNW 2015.


Congratulations to Tom Galloway for winning the prize for the best poster ('Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy for the Study of Oxygen Electrochemistry in Aqueous and Non-Aqueous Electrolytes') at STFC Early Career Researchers Conference, Cosners House, Abingdon, UK.


Congratulations to Arturas in being awarded the best talk prize at the Annual Meeting of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers, Taipei, Taiwan.


Tom Galloway leaves to Xiamen, China for a two month placement to learn advanced Raman spectroscopic techniques within the group of Prof. Jian-Feng Li at the Xiamen University.


Invited talk at Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) Hsinchu, Taiwan: 'Dioxygen Electrochemistry in Non-Aqueous Electrolytes for Lithium-Air Cells'.


Invited talk at International Li-Air Battery Symposium, Seoul, Korea: 'The Electrochemistry of Dioxygen in Non-Aqueous Electrolytes for Lithium-Oxygen Cells'. ILABS 2014. Dr Hardwick acknowledges the support from the Royal Society of Chemistry for attending this conference.


Invited talk at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), Korea: 'Why does carbon degrade within the Li-ion cell?'.


Stephenson Institute hosts ElectrochemNW 2014.

Congratulations to Iain Aldous and Tom Galloway for winning the prize for the best poster ('In Situ Spectroscopic Studies of the Electrochemistry of Dioxygen in Non-Aqueous Li-Oxygen Battery Electrolytes') at ElectrochemNW.


Invited talk at MRS Spring Conference in San Francisco: 'The Electrochemistry of Dioxygen in Non-Aqueous Electrolytes for Lithium-Oxygen Cells'. Read more.


Congratulations to Henry, Tom, Filipe and Chris for coming second in the five-a-side spring tournament along with fellow Stephenson Institute team members: Jon Lee, Ebenezer Tetsi, Mike Graham and Giorgos Papageorgiou. Team photo.


Invited talk at APS March Meeting: 'Electrochemistry of Dioxygen in Lithium-Air Batteries'. Read more.


Hardwick group say a fond farewell to Arturas - who leaves Liverpool to continue his PhD studies with the group of Prof. Hu at NTHU, Taiwan.


EU FP7 Project SIRBATT (Stable Interfaces for Rechargeable Batteries) website launched: www.liv.ac.uk/sirbatt


Hardwick group moves into new Stephenson Institute Building and Laboratories, please see facilities page.


£4M to improve lifespan of batteries. Read more.


Electrochemical energy storage receives £3.3M funding boost. Read more.


Dr Hardwick visits Prof. Hu's Lab at NTHU, Taiwan. Photos.


Consortium wins graphene research funding. Read more.