molecular framework materials

Six projects are available, with points of focus spanning a broad range of topics and techniques.

Project 1

Electronic switching
This project involves the synthesis and characterisation of nanoporous molecular hosts that switch electronically due to the presence of spin centres within their frameworks. In generating the first materials of this type, we have recently discovered a wide range of completely new materials properties in which the switching and host-guest behaviours are linked. The global vision of this work is the generation of materials for device-application where switching acts as a mechanism for data storage, sensing, molecular recognition and molecular control.

Project 2

Negative thermal expansion (NTE)
The decrease of crystal lattice dimensions with increasing temperature (NTE) is a potentially useful property that has been observed only very rarely. This project will involve the use of X-ray and neutron diffraction to characterise the effect in selected framework materials. Chemical modification by doping will be investigated in an attempt to develop crystals displaying zero thermal expansion.


Project 3

Guest desportion and adsorption
Nanoporous molecular framework materials have recently been shown to remain crystalline following guest desorption. In this project, single crystal X-ray diffraction will be used to characterise both the removal and re-introduction of guest species within molecular host lattices. Primary aims are towards understanding the structural features that lead to nanoporosity and, more fundamentally, how molecular hosts respond to the presence of guests (and vice versa).

Project 4

Nanoporous chiral frameworks
The recent discovery of molecular materials that are both nanoporous and homochiral paves the way for unique approaches to enantioseparations. This project extends this important discovery by investigating the synthesis and guest-exchange chemistry of new chiral materials. Experiments into the selectivity of these processes will be fundamental in evaluating the suitability of the materials for commercial application.

Project 5

Hydrogen storage
In the proposed Hydrogen Economy, hydrogen gas replaces fossil fuels at the centre of a clean energy cycle. This project will address the safe and efficient storage of hydrogen gas – one of the principal current challenges in this area – through the use of nanoporous phases designed to have high surface areas and functionalised chemical surfaces.

Project 6

Redox-active molecular frameworks (with Dr D. D'Alessandro)
This project will involve the use of redox-active species to construct nanoporous framework materials with novel electronic and magnetic properties. Particular aims of the project are the synthesis of nanoporous magnets and electrically conducting nanoporous materials.


For further information, please contact:

Professor Cameron Kepert

Room 308

School of Chemistry

Eastern Avenue

University of Sydney NSW 2006

Phone: +61 2 9351 5741