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Nanoscale transport mechanisms in zeolites and metal-organic frameworks

Project Description

Microporous materials, with pores less than 2 nm in size, are central materials technologies for chemical separations and catalysis and, increasingly, show promise for energy storage applications. The high surface areas of microporous materials are particularly valuable for heterogeneous catalysis, which underpins the vast majority of industrial processes. However, direct, nanoscale measurement of the microstructure in these materials (from microns down to individual atoms) is largely absent due to limited analytical tools. Moreover, many of these materials undergo secondary modification after initial synthesis (e.g. amorphisation, transition metal ion exchange) introducing changes that are not homogeneously distributed throughout the material. Critically, the local changes in structure and chemistry, as well interactions between adjacent small and larger scale pore networks, control the macroscopic transport of fluids, gases, and ions in these materials for industrial applications.

This project will establish a mechanistic understanding of chemical transport in microporous materials at the nanoscale through the use and development of advanced electron microscopy. The aims of the project will be to track molecules and ions in microporous materials. The project will involve combining multiple cutting edge electron microscopy and focused ion beam techniques as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence-guided data processing. The project will in turn develop key insights for industrial catalyst design and optimization and for emerging materials engineered three-dimensionally and at the atomic scale.

Funding Notes

The projects are funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships and will run for 3.5 years. A full standard studentship consists of academic fees (£4,500 in Session 2019/20), together with a maintenance grant paid at standard Research Council rates. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course

How good is research at University of Leeds in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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