London Met Lecturer receives prestigious RIA Chemistry award

Analytical Chemistry lecturer Dr Priyanka Ganguly, won the Kathleen Lonsdale award, given by the Royal Irish Academy.

Date: 4 August 2022

London Met lecturer Dr Priyanka Ganguly is the winner of the Kathleen Lonsdale RIA Chemistry Prize 2022. Priyanka's PhD research into novel composite nanomaterials was praised for its relevance to two pressing global challenges: sustainable energy production and environmental pollution from pharmaceutical effluent.

The award, which is named after the famous Irish x-ray crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale, is an annual award that celebrates the most outstanding Irish PhD thesis in the general area of the chemical sciences.

Reacting to the news of her selection as the winner, Dr Ganguly told the RIA:

“I am extremely delighted to be the awardee from such a prestigious institution. Being recognised with such awards helps you to gain confidence to do better in upcoming years. Moreover, challenging situations of pandemics have made me realise the importance of science we do and the progress that we make each day for a better future. It is an extremely humbling experience to be recognised by such a prestigious institution as the Royal Irish Academy, as it recognises all the hard work being done to date.”

Professor Christine O’Connor, TU Dublin, chair of the assessment panel, commended the quality of this year’s competition entries:

“This years' Kathleen Lonsdale Prize applicants representing Universities/ Institutes across Ireland have been of an extremely high standard. To have such a high calibre of applicants following what has been a very disruptive time in their postgraduate research due to the pandemic, displays the resilience and determination of both the Researchers and their Supervisors.”

Priyanka Ganguly is a lecturer of analytical chemistry at our School of Human Science, and teaches advanced material science, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry and spectroscopic techniques.

Dr Priyanka Ganguly’s award winning work

Dr Ganguly aimed to develop new nanomaterials that could harness solar energy to produce hydrogen and to degrade environmental pollutants. The prestigious prize is awarded for outstanding doctoral research in the chemical sciences carried out on the island of Ireland. The award is named in honour of the famous Irish x-ray crystallographer, Kathleen Lonsdale.

Dr Ganguly made new materials by combining TiO2 (titanium dioxide) with ternary chalcogenides. TiO2 is a low-cost semiconductor material that is highly effective in photocatalytic applications but is typically not able to absorb visible light. The ternary chalcogenides show high visible light absorption but are less photocatalytically active than TiO2. By combining these two materials, Dr Ganguly hoped to make novel composite nanomaterials that allow absorption of light in the visible and near infrared range to catalyse reactions to produce hydrogen and degrade pollutants efficiently.

Dr Ganguly made four new composite nanomaterials and studied their structural, electronic, and optical properties. When she tested their efficiency at photocatalytic efficiency, she found they illustrated higher efficiency at hydrogen production than the parent material. They also showed efficient photocatalytic antimicrobial disinfection and degradation of an antibiotic in water. She has shared her results in internationally renowned peer reviewed journals.

Source: The RIA

Dr Priyanka Ganguly