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Robust metal-organic framework materials for clean air

Project Description

There is increasing concern over global air quality, with high concentrations of smog posing significant health risks and environmental problems worldwide. SO2 and NOx are the most toxic components in smog causing significant respiratory disease. There is therefore an ever-increasing demand for materials that can capture SO2 and NOx in order to mitigate emissions. However, this is a very challenging target since SO2 and NO2 are highly corrosive and reactive and most materials are not sufficiently stable. Despite their widespread and successful use in separations of gases such as N2, CO2, CH4 and other small molecules, MOF materials that reversibly bind SO2 and NO2 are extremely rare. Recently, the Schrӧder/Yang group have discovered a number of porous Cu-, Al- and Zn-based MOFs that exhibit unprecedented performance for SO2 and NO2 capture, demonstrating record high SO2 and NO2 selectivity, uptake capacity and storage density. Part of our research results have been recently published (Nature Materials, 2018, 17, 691-696; Nature Materials, 2019, 18, 1358-1366; Nature Chemistry, 2019, 11, 1085-1090; Nature Review Chemistry, 2019, 3, 108-118) and highlighted in CNN News as a breakthrough technology for a clean air. This represents a unique and very timely opportunity to study SO2 and NOx chemistry within MOF materials. The PhD project aims to support the systematic investigation of the adsorption, binding, phase behaviour, electronic structure, release, and separation of SO2 and NO2 in a series of stable MOFs with robust framework structures and decorated pore environments. Our extensive experience in handling corrosive gases in MOFs will (i) enable their evaluation as emerging sorbents for adsorptive removal of SO2 and NO2; (ii) afford key insights into the design of new MOFs with improved stability and gas binding properties. The project will provide an excellent training environment for the PhD student at National Facilities.

Academic background of candidates
Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry. A Masters degree in Chemistry is highly desirable.

Contact for further Information

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year EPSRC DTG funded studentship covering fees and stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20)

Open to UK/EU applicants only due to funding restrictions.

We expect the programme to commence in September 2020


1] Reversible coordinative binding and separation of sulphur dioxide in a robust metal-organic framework with open copper sites. G. L. Smith, J. E. Eyley, X. Han, X. Zhang, J. Li, N. M. Jacques, H. G.W. Godfrey, S. P. Argent, L. J. McCormick, S. J. Teat, Y. Cheng, M. D. Frogley, G. Cinque, S. J. Day, C. C. Tang, T. L. Easun, S. Rudić, A. J. Ramirez-Cuesta, S. Yang and M. Schröder, Nat. Mater. 2019, 18, 1358-1366.
2] Capture of nitrogen dioxide and conversion to nitric acid in a porous metal-organic framework. J. Li, X. Han, X. Zhang, A. M. Sheveleva, Y. Cheng, F. Tuna, E. J. L. Mcinnes, L. McCormick, S. J. Teat, L. L. Daeman, A. J. Ramirez-Cuesta, M. Schröder and S. Yang. Nat. Chem. 2019, 11, 1085-1090.
3] Porous metal-organic frameworks as emerging sorbents for clean air. X. Han, S. Yang and M. Schröder, Nat. Rev. Chem. 2019, 3, 108-118.
4] Reversible adsorption of nitrogen dioxide within a robust metal-organic framework. X. Han, H. G.W. Godfrey, L. Briggs, A. J. Davies, Y. Cheng, L. L. Daemen, A. M. Sheveleva, F. Tuna, E. J.L. McInnes, J. Sun, C. Drathen, M. W. George, A. J. Ramirez-Cuesta, K. M. Thomas, S. Yang and M. Schröder, Nat. Mater. 2018, 17, 691-696.

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