My research involves the design and synthesis of novel organic monomers for Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs), and their structural modification, with the objective of tuning the physical properties of the final product. PIMs are materials whose porosity is induced by the inefficient packing of their long chains in the solid state, which leaves pores of nano-dimension. They provide advantages over similar polymers, as they are composed of only light elements such as C, H, N, O. Their high BET surface areas make them suitable for application as gas storage and gas separation, and their most valuable feature is due to their solubility in common organic solvents, which allows them to be fully processable.
To expand the study of the concept of intrinsic microporosity, we also applied the use of site of contortions to single discreet molecules, demonstrating that an extended polymeric structure is not required to induce microporosity, demonstrating the formation of OMIMs (Organic Molecules of Intrinsic Microporosity).
Great effort has been put into the development of the synthetic procedures for the preparation of novel monomers and polymers of intrinsic microporosity, especially designed for the formation of high performing films for gas separation membranes.
The combination of the soluble PIM and an insoluble filler gives us the possibility to form Mixed Matrix Membranes (MMMs).
The formation of PIMs by Tröger’s base polymerisation gave us the possibility to expand the concepts of PIMs for many different other applications for instance, exploiting them for Heterogeneous catalysis. Because of the basic nature of the Tröger’s base sites, the high porosity of networked polymers the and easiness of further modification and functionalisation these polymers have been successfully used for other applications such as Electrochemistry and as Anion exchange resins