+44 (0)131 451 8034
Room 2.02
William Perkin Building
Heriot-Watt University
Filipe Vilela

Design of 3D Conjugated Polymers as Heterogeneous Photocatalysts

Our research interests focuses on the development of Conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs) for application in heterogeneous photocatalysis. These polymeric materials offer the same advantages of conventional conjugated polymers, with extended π-systems where the electronic levels can be controlled rendering materials that are semiconducting and have a wealth of applications. Therefore we also screen and test the novel CMPs in gas storage and separation and for organic photovoltaics.

1. Development of Conjugated Porous Polymeric Nanoparticles

The general concept is to employ different synthetic strategies in order to develop nano- or micro-sized particles of novel photoactive 3-D conjugated porous polymers (CPPs), whilst retaining a high level of control over their electronic and structural properties. These materials will be designed for distinct applications within solar energy conversion, with emphasis on: (i) organic photovoltaics (OPVs) and (ii) heterogeneous photocatalysis, both of which are in line with sustainable chemistry.

Figure 1. General depiction of a conjugated microporous polymer taking part in a photocatalytic event.

Figure 2. Development of conjugated porous polymeric nanoparticles for application in organic photovoltaics.

2. Development of Conjugated polyHIPEs

Using a technique known as High Internal Phase Emulsion (HIPE), it is possible to produce polymeric monoliths with hierarchical porosity (pores ranging from micro to macro size). These polymers are known in literature as PolyHIPEs. Our focus is in the development on fully conjugated PolyHIPEs. Since this emulsion technique allows for the pre-formation of the polymeric material into different sizes and formats we aim to apply the porous polymers with view for in-flow photocatalysis.


Figure 3. High internal phase emulsion process for the production of PolyHIPE nanoparticles and their application in in-flow heterogeneous photocatalysis.

Selected publications
  • "Conjugated Porous Polymers for Energy Applications". Filipe Vilela, Kai Zhang and Markus Antonietti Energy and Environmental Science 2012, 5, 7819-7832
  • "Surface area control and photocatalytic activity of conjugated microporous poly(benzothiadiazole) networks". Kai Zhang, Daniel Kopetzki, Peter Seeberger, Markus Antonietti and Filipe Vilela,* Angewandte International Edition, 2013, 52, 1432-1436
  • "Modification of conjugated microporous poly-benzothiadiazole for photosensitised singlet oxygen generation in water". Hiromitsu Urakami, Kai Zhang and Filipe Vilela,* Chemical Communications, 2013, 49, 2353-2355
  • "∏-conjugated polyHIPEs as highly efficient and reusable heterogeneous photosensitizers". Kai Zhang, Zuzana Vobecka, Klaus Tauer, Markus Antonietti and Filipe Vilela,* Chemical Communications, 2013, Available online
  • "Facile functionalization of HTC-derived carbon microspheres". Hiromitsu Urakami, Markus Antonietti and Filipe Vilela, Chemical Communications, 2012, 48, 10984-10986