Dr Ishara Dharmasena

B.Sc. (Hons), Ph.D., FHEA, MIET

  • Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer

Ishara obtained his B.Sc. Engineering degree (First Class) from University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka), in 2014. Subsequently, Ishara worked as a research scientist at the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), researching on nanotechnology-enhanced smart textiles. He completed his Ph.D. at the Advanced Technology Institute - University of Surrey in 2019, studying triboelectric energy harvesting, wearable electronics and self-powered energy systems. He worked as a Research Fellow at University of Surrey from January to October 2019 and joined Loughborough University as a ESPRC Doctoral Prize Fellow at Wolfson School, investigating triboelectric energy harvesting and wearable electronics research areas. In 2021, Ishara was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship to conduct his research on wearable and self-powered health monitoring technologies and was appointed as a Lecturer at the Wolfson School.

Key Awards

  • RAEng Research Fellowship (2021-2026)
  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) (2020)
  • EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship – Loughborough University (2019-2021)
  • University Research Scholarship (URS) – University of Surrey (2015-2018)
  • Overseas Research Studentship (ORS) – University of Surrey (2015-2018)
  • Top Downloaded paper in Advanced Energy Materials (2018)
  • ABTA Doctoral Researcher Award (First Place - Engineering Category), UK (2018)
  • Energy & Environmental Science HOT Article (2017)
  • MAS Award for the Best Overall Engineering Student – University of Moratuwa (2014)
  • Gold Medal for the Highest Overall GPA (Textile and Process Engineering) – University of Moratuwa (2014)
  • The Textile Institute (Sri Lanka Section) Gold Medal (2014)
  • Pritz Kunz Trophy for the most outstanding student (Ananda College, Sri Lanka) - 2010


  • 2019-2020 University of Surrey, UK
  • Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching
  • 2015-2019 University of Surrey, UK
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Electronic Engineering
  • 2009-2014 University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
  • B.Sc. Engineering (Hons)

Ishara’s research expertise is in the areas of mechanical energy harvesting, wearable and soft electronics, nanogenerators, and smart textiles. At present, he is focussing on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) and their applicability as energy harvesting devices and self-powered sensors, under following specific areas.

  • Distance Dependent Electric Field (DDEF) model for TENG simulation and optimisation
  • Theoretical modelling, fabrication and characterisation of TENGs
  • Textile based wearable TENGs for health monitoring and activity detection
  • Ambient energy harvesting using TENGs for low-power electronics
  • Smart textiles for IoT and medical applications
  • Soft electronics for e-skin and human-machine interfacing

Grants and contracts

  • 2021 - 2026: “Triboelectrically Powered Super Smart Textiles for Wearable Health Monitoring” (Principal Investigator) - £500,000

Funder: Royal Academy of Engineering

  • 2021- 2022: “Optimizing Wearable Triboelectric Nanogenerators for the Internet of Things (IOT)” (Co-Investigator) - £22,500

Funder: National Research Council of Sri Lanka

  • 2019 – 2021: “Optimized Triboelectric Nanogenerators for Self-Powered Electronics” (Principal Investigator) - £100,000

Funder: EPSRC/Loughborough University

  • University of Surrey post graduate travel grant (Principal Investigator) - £1,000

Funder: University of Surrey


Current teaching responsibilities

  • Visiting Senior Lecturer – University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka)
    Module: Smart Textiles (TT 4480)


Recent publications

  • Dharmasena, R. D. I. G. & Wijayantha, K. G. U. (2021). Theoretical and Experimental Investigation into the Asymmetric External Charging of Triboelectric Nanogenerators. Nano Energy, 106511.
  • Dudem, B., Graham, S.A., Dharmasena, R. D. I. G., Silva, S. R. P., & Yu, J. S. (2021). Natural silk-composite enabled versatile robust triboelectric nanogenerators for smart applications. Nano Energy, 83,105819.
  • Dharmasena, R. D. I. G. (2020). Inherent asymmetry of the current output in a triboelectric nanogenerator. Nano Energy, 76, 105045.
  • Gunawardhana, K. R. S. D., Wanasekara, N. D., & Dharmasena R. D. I. G. (2020). Towards truly wearable systems: optimising and scaling up wearable triboelectric nanogenerators. Iscience, 101360.
  • Li, J., Wu, C., Dharmasena, R. D. I. G., Ni, X., Wang, Z., Shen, H., Huang, S. L., & Ding, W. (2020). Triboelectric nanogenerators enabled internet of things: A survey. Intelligent and Converted Networks, 1(2), 115-141.

Journal Articles

  • Dharmasena, R. D. I. G., Jayawardena, K. D. G. I., Mills, C. A., Deane, J. H. B., Anguita, J. V., Dorey, R. A., & Silva, S. R. P. (2017). Triboelectric nanogenerators: providing a fundamental framework. Energy & Environmental Science, 10(8), 1801-1811.
  • Dharmasena, R. D. I. G., Deane, J. H., & Silva, S. R. P. (2018). Nature of power generation and output optimization criteria for triboelectric nanogenerators. Advanced Energy Materials, 8(31), 1802190.
  • Dharmasena, R. D. I. G., Jayawardena, K. D. G. I., Mills, C. A., Dorey, R. A., & Silva, S. R. P. (2018). A unified theoretical model for Triboelectric Nanogenerators. Nano Energy, 48, 391-400.
  • Dharmasena, R. D. I. G., Cronin, H. M., Dorey, R. A. & Silva, S. R. P. (2020). Direct current contact-mode triboelectric nanogenerators via systematic phase shifting. Nano Energy, 75, 104887.
  • Dharmasena, R. D. I. G. & Silva S. R. P. (2019). Towards optimized triboelectric nanogenerators. Nano Energy, 62, 530-549.
  • A full list of publications can be obtained through google scholar

Conference Presentations

  • R.D.I.G. Dharmasena, S.R.P. Silva (2019). Power Generation and Output Optimisation Criteria for High Efficiency Triboelectric Nanogenerators. EMRS Spring Meeting, Nice, France.
  • R.D.I.G. Dharmasena, S.R.P. Silva (2019). Effective use of Structural Design in Engineering the Output Trends of Triboelectric Nanogenerators. International conference on materials for advanced technologies (ICMAT), Singapore.
  • R.D.I.G. Dharmasena, K.D.G.I. Jayawardena, C.A. Mills, R.A. Dorey, S.R.P. Silva (2018). A Universal Theoretical Model for Triboelectric nanogenerators. MRS Spring Meeting and Exhibit, Phoenix, USA.
  • R.D.I.G. Dharmasena, K.D.G.I. Jayawardena, C.A. Mills, R.A. Dorey, S.R.P. Silva (2018). Textile based Triboelectric Nanogenerators. MRS Spring Meeting and Exhibit, Phoenix, USA.
  • R.D.I.G. Dharmasena, K.D.G.I. Jayawardena, C.A. Mills, R.A. Dorey, S.R.P. Silva (2017). Triboelectric nanogenerators – back to fundamentals. International conference on materials for advanced technologies (ICMAT), Singapore.
  • R.D.I.G. Dharmasena, K.D.G.I. Jayawardena, C.A. Mills, R.A. Dorey, S.R.P. Silva (2016). Study of the Working Principle of Contact Mode Triboelectric Generators. International conference on advanced energy materials (AEM), Surrey, UK.

External collaborators

Academic Institutions

  • University of Surrey (UK)
  • University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka)
  • Exeter University (UK)
  • Ecole des Mines de Saint-Étienne (France)
  • Tsinghua University (China)

Industrial Collaborators

  • MAS Holdings (Sri Lanka)
  • Regis Fabrics (UK)

External roles and appointments:

External Roles and Professional Memberships:

  • Steering board member: E-Textiles Network (https://e-textiles-network.com/about-the-network/)
  • Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology

International Journals:

  • Invited Reviewer for Nano Energy, Advanced Energy Materials, Iscience, Scientific Reports, and European Physical Journal Plus Journals.
  • Guest Editor (special issue on "Nanotechnology for Energy Conversion") – Nanoenergy Advances

Other activities:

  • Organising committee – Advanced Energy Materials (AEM) International Conference, Surrey, United Kingdom (2017-2019)
  • Reviewer – MERCon international conference, Sri Lanka (2019-2020)

Promoter of Science and Technology:

Ishara works as a promotor of science and technology among students and general public in UK and Sri Lanka, and, some of his research activities have been featured in BBC, BBC Radio, Sri Lanka National Television, Yahoo, MSN, Physics World etc.