Research Areas

Porous Molecular Materials

Solution-processable porous materials such as porous organic cages (POCs) and metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs) are among research targets within our research laboratory at the University of Adelaide.  These are examples of novel porous materials with potential applications in gas storage, separations and catalysis. An advantage of such materials, by comparison with extended framework materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), is their readily solution processibility.

Some recent contributions include:

Kinetically controlled porosity in an organic cage.

Kinetically controlled porosity in an organic cage.

 Metal-organic Frameworks

Our work on MOFs relies heavily on developing new ligand systems to prepare novel MOF materials and careful manipulation of the structures of existing MOF materials through linker modifications and metal node replacements.

MOF Synthesis

In this area we have undertaken the development of a new group of azolium-containing materials that are important precursors to N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) containing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), the synthesis of MOFs from diol containing biphenylcarboxylate ligands, and MOFs prepared from ‘hinged’ ligands.  The later of these show interesting structural flexibility.

Some recent contributions include:

Post-synthetic structural processing in a metal-organic framework.

Post-synthetic structural processing in a metal-organic framework.

MOF Catalysis

An example of MOF catalysis - hydroboration of carbon dioxide.

An example of MOF catalysis - hydroboration of carbon dioxide.

MOFs are promising materials for heterogeneous catalysis and our research team is investigating how particular structural motifs can be incorporated into the design of MOFs to develop new or more efficient catalysts.  This work extends from garnering new fundamental insight into MOF supported catalysts through to new MOF catalysts. Techniques such as post-synthetic metalation (see our review of this area) are important to preparing new catalysts and we have also developed purpose-built catalytic testing facilities for examining gas phase catalysis.

Some recent contributions include:

MOF Structuralisation, Composites and Particle Size

For MOFs to be applied as components of real-world systems, precise control over and optimisation of the physical form of the material is required. In this respect we are examining modulation of the crystal size and morphology (changes at the nanoscale) and how the application dictates the internal organisation of the solid and overall external shape of the composite (changes at the macroscale).  This work is done in collaboration with Dr Kenji Sumida (ARC DECRA fellow, School of Physcial Sciences, UoA).

See:

MOF Biocomposites

Coming soon