WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT POROUS MATERIALS?
Porous materials are important in applications such as separations or gas storage, for example, the capture of greenhouse gases or the removal of harmful contaminants. Our molecular cages are porous - in fact, as little as one gram of cage can have the same surface area of 7 tennis courts! The solubility and porosity of these cages means we can use them in a number of applications.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Unlike other porous materials which are often large frameworks, the individual nature of these cages makes them soluble. The fact that these cages are soluble means that we can direct their assembly into larger 3D structures. By changing their shape, we can also change the assembled structure - like molecular Lego! This assembly forms connected channels, making the materials porous, and it is this that makes them so useful!
Our research is centred around molecular cages, in particular, porous organic cages. These cages are individual molecules, containing an internal, permanent hole which is accessible through windows. They are made using very simple chemistry but small changes in the way the cages are made can drastically change their properties, and therefore what they can be used for.
WHAT ARE MOLECULAR CAGES?
Come and learn about the fascinating world of Molecular Cages at our exhibit, where you'll find out The Hole Story!
We are investigating the use of our cages in a number of applications, including the capture and separation of gases (for example xenon, which is used in medical imaging and anaesthesia, and hazardous radioisotopes which can be released into the environment via nuclear accidents), and porous liquids - a new counter-intuitive material comprising a liquid with holes! We can also modify our cages for the removal of formaldehyde which causes cancer, leukaemia, asthma and reproductive problems.
WHAT CAN WE DO WITH THE CAGES?
MEET THE TEAM
CAN YOU ASSEMBLE A CAGE?
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There are an infinite number of possible hypothetical materials that we could try and make, so in order to accelerate the discovery process, we are combining computational modelling and state-of-the-art robotics to design and screen promising new functional materials. This approach has already shown success in the discovery of new organic cages!
1) INTERESTED IN CREATING A CAGE ORIGAMI LIKE THIS ONE?
3) DOWNLOAD OUR COLOURING IMAGES!
Directly download (click on the images below) our beautiful images of porous organic cages that you can color and post your work on twitter!
Download this pdf and follow the instructions.
Remember to post your creations on our twitter page!
FEEL CREATIVE? DO IT YOURSELF!
2) YOU CAN EVEN 3D PRINT OUR MOST FAMOUS CAGE
Download the stl file that you will need for your 3D printer