PhD Studentship Porous Two-dimensional Materials for Gas Separations at University of Southampton

A new PhD position in spectroscopy is available at University of Southampton. The initial contract for this position is 5 years. Eligible candidates should submit the applications before May 29, 2020.

MXenes are a new class of two-dimensional materials that have been recently discovered and have already shown great promise for a range of applications, including electrochemical energy storage, electromagnetic shielding and energy conversion. In our research group, we have been looking at methods for increasing the porosity and surface area of MXenes, as these properties can prove extremely beneficial for applications in various areas, including electrochemical energy storage, catalysis (catalysis scholarships) and gas adsorption. Porous MXenes have properties unlike any other porous material, as they have high electrical and thermal conductivities, high mechanical strength, chemical stability, hydrophilicity, and tuneable pore sizes and surface chemistry. MXenes have already shown promise for gas separations, as they showed outstanding performance for CO capture in mixtures relevant for post-combustion carbon capture.

Industrial separations are responsible for 15% of the world's primary energy demand, and their importance is likely to continue to increase. Separations are also critical for future industries, such as hydrogen fuel cells, which require purification of hydrogen gas, or waste-to-energy processes such as gasification, which need careful separation of the resulting gaseous streams. Adsorption-based separations have long been used in industry, but there is an urgent need for development of new materials that can provide for more energy-efficient separations. In our research group, we have successfully synthesised porous MXenes with high surface areas and tailored pore sizes, properties that are extremely important for gas separations.

The PhD project will synthesise porous MXenes, and will test these materials for gas applications, focussing on separations relevant for carbon capture and hydrogen purification. This will involve synthesis of MXenes, looking at Ti C Mo TiC , W C and Mo C, and other MXenes, which will then be intercalated with different pillars to obtain a range of different pore sizes. The materials will be characterised using a range of techniques, including X-ray Diffraction, Raman Spectroscopy, NMR, BET analysis, and tested for gas adsorption of CO , N , O and H , with the view of identifying the most promising combinations for gas separations. The final stage of the project involves testing the materials for binary and multicomponent gas separations.

This is a 3.5 years fully funded PhD studentship ideal for someone with a Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or Physics background, and an interest in materials and gas separations. The project will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, as it is based on the School of Chemistry at the University of Southampton. The School is currently undergoing a 12 M refurbishment, which has been focused on laboratory facilities, including new and upgraded laboratory equipment fitted with modern, high-tech display systems, and excellent analytical and characterisation facilities.

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 "PhD Chemistry (Full time)" as the programme. Please enter Nuno Bimbo under the proposed supervisor.

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