Amorphous Microporous Polymer Frameworks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Chemistry


Porous materials are of wide technical and scientific interest because they can have very large surface areas; for example, just one gram of a highly porous activated carbon material can exhibit a surface area which is much greater than a football pitch. This gives rise to applications in fields such as sensor technology (where the sensitivity depends on surface area) and gas storage (where large surface areas are needed to stick the gas molecules). Microporous materials have pores which are extremely small - only slightly larger than gas molecules. There is currently much interest in the control of microporous properties by direct chemical synthesis - that is, by defining the shape of the micropores by the shape and connectivity of rigid organic molecules. In this proposal we aim to synthesize microporous organic polymers with completely new physical properties - for example, polymers where the surface area can be turned on or off by shining light on the structure. This will require a number of major advances in the synthetic methods for making these structures and also in the charaterisation techniques for understanding these complex molecules. The proposal focuses on the underpinning science to achieve control over the molecular structure of the micropores. In the longer term, we expect applications in a broad range of technologies such as separations, catalysis, and gas storage.


10 25 50
Description In this project we discovered and developed a new class of materials called 'conjugated microporous polymers' (CMPs) with a range of applications, mostly related to energy. Since this grant finished, this area has become a substantial research area worldwide, with at least 100 follow-up papers from other groups and numerous review articles.
Exploitation Route The area of CMPs has grown enormously in the last few years, and applications have been demonstrated in academic groups ranging from sensors to catalysts and molecular separations. There is substantial work in China, for example, and much patenting activity. Long term chance of commercial exploitation is good.
Sectors Chemicals,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Other

Description CMP materials have been developed by many groups now for a range of applications - see for example the recent review by Donglin Jiang (Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013, 42, 8012). One of the materials produced in this grant has now been commercialised by Sigma-Aldrich - the product page can be found at: This research formed a platform for a new generation of materials for photochemical water splitting. See for example: R. S. Sprick et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 1792-1796; J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 3265-3270
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Chemicals,Electronics,Energy
Impact Types Economic

Description HEFCE UK RPIF
Amount £11,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Materials Innovation Factory 
Organisation Higher Education Funding Council for England 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2012 
End 12/2019