I studied Physics Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Milano, Italy), where I earned a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree. Both of them consisted mainly of solid state physics classes, with a particular focus on semiconductors (for electronics and photonics application) and magnetic nanostructures. My first experience in research was at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble, France), where I spent 10 months working as a trainee for my master thesis project.
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Brief description of project:
The selective removal and catalytic conversion of toxic gases (e.g., NOx and SO2) produced from the combustion of fossil fuels is of fundamental importance to the improvement of global air quality. This is, however, a very challenging task and requires integrated materials solution. Herein, we propose to develop new fixed-bed air-filters based upon robust metal-organic framework (MOF) materials as multi-functional scrubbers of harmful gases from the atmosphere. Understanding the mechanism by which these porous MOFs bind guest molecules at a molecular level is of critical importance in designing and optimising successive generations of new materials with better storage capacities and selectivity.
The proposed PhD project with Diamond will: (i) develop an anti-corrosive gas-cell system that will enable the in situ FTIR measurements of solid materials as a function of gas loading; (ii) use this new system to probe the active binding sites and host-guest binding dynamics in nanoporous space (0-5 nm) of new functional porous materials (particularly with NOx and SO2); (iii) optimise this gas-cell system to expand the capability of Diamond B22 to benefit a wider range of researchers and research areas. The project requires simultaneous access to advanced synthesis capabilities, materials characterisation, comprehensive gas sorption facilities and state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray scattering.
The University of Manchester is one of the world’s leading institutes for materials research, and has extensive collaborations with Diamond and ISIS, and thus offers an outstanding platform to undertake this project in terms of the instrumentation, infrastructure and expertise. The micro-focused high-brightness IR beam, high sensitivity detection and versatile sample environment capabilities of B22 are state-of-the-art for identifying key vibrational information within porous materials. This project will be complementary to our ongoing research at Diamond (with Professors Tang and Allen) and ISIS (with Dr Manuel) studying porous MOFs for gas capture using X-ray and neutron diffraction.
Applications to this studentship will open in early 2018.
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