Our research is focused on design and synthesis of materials and their application in clean and renewable energy. The materials include Coordination Polymers (CP), Porous Coordination Polymers (PCP) or Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), which consists of metal ion/metal cluster nodes and organic ligands spacers. Potential application of these materials involves gas adsorption/separation (especially H2, methane storage and CO2 capture), catalysis, sensors, drug delivery and bio-imaging. Crystal engineering principles effectively utilizes to achieve the design and synthesis of these materials. Photochemical [2+2] cycloaddition reactions of CPs are important study in addressing to create smart photosensitive materials.
Photo-responsive smart materials:
It is challenge to stack the C=C bonds in CPs for topochemical photodimerization reaction. Design and synthesis of smart photoreactive CPs will be conducted by using crystal engineering approach. This provides a novel method to provide straight way access to the sterospecific cyclobutane isomeric products. In the case of porous coordination polymers (or MOFs), this method provides the selectivity and regeneration efficiency of the sorbent tuned upon light irradiation through the modification of the pores. The methodology used here is careful engineering of the supramolecular arrangement of molecules to stack the double bonds in the coordination polymers. Light-responsive inorganic materials open up a door to technological application such as data storage, optical switches and sensors.
CO2 capture and clean energy:
One of the greatest environmental threats facing to humanity is increasing the level of atmospheric CO2 from anthropogenic emission. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) plays an important role to efficiently capture CO2 from emission sources. There is an urgent requirement to develop right materials to efficiently capture CO2 from emission sources. MOFs are new class of materials and promising candidates as adsorbents or membrane filters for separations and they are ideal platform for the development of next generation CO2 capture. These materials have special properties for example; large surface areas, variable pore size and acceptable chemical and thermal stability. Design and synthesis of novel MOFs with right properties will conduct for selective adsorption and separation. Hydrogen is one of the significant energy sources which can be replaced by current carbon based fuel and provide clean energy. Delivery and storage are important components in hydrogen based energy technologies. MOFs are important materials to develop hydrogen storage technologies. Methane is another alternative fuel and facing the drawback of storage and transportation. MOFs materials should be developed to efficiently store methane for practical use.
Supervised as a Mentor (NUS)
Chemistry Honours Research Project [Charlene Shi Yun Peh, Year: August 2007- May 2008]
Project title: Synthesis of Stereospecific Cyclobutane Isomers via Photochemical [2+2] Cycloaddition Reaction in Solid State and Isomerization in Solution.
UROPs Research Project [Natalie Sophia Koh Suet Ting, Year: January 2009 December 2009]
Project title: Self Assembly of Pb(II) Coordination Polymeric Networks Containing 4,4-bipyridyl with Acetate and Trifluoroacetate Anions.
Scientia Research Project [Chen Maoye, Ho Shuxian and Zhang Shiwen, August 2009 January 2010]. Project title: Solid-state Reactivity of Hydrogen-bonded Organic Salts [Won Merit Award in SSEF 2010, Singapore Science and Engineering Fair 2010].
Chemistry Honours Research Project [Toh Mei Fang Belinda, Year: August 2009-May 2010]
Project title: Self Assembly of Pb(II) Coordination Polymeric Structures Containing trans-1,2-bis(4-pyridyl)ethylene with Formate and Oxalate Anions.
1. “Design and Synthesis of Photo-Responsive Coordination Polymeric Materials”, December 1st 2013- April 30th 2015, Internal KFUPM (PI)
2. “Development of MOF based Materials and Systems for CO2 Separation and Capture”, November 1st 2013-November 30th 2015, KACST (Co-I)
3. “Novel Mixed Matrix Membrane for CO2 Separation” March 1st 2015- March 31st 2017, NSTIP (Co-I)
4.“Design and Synthesis of Porous Materials for Hydrogen Storage” September 1st 2015- August 31st 2017, NSTIP (PI)