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.