This study aims to explore new porous molecular crystalline compounds and to implement a methodology to study gas-solid interactions at the atomic level using X-ray diffraction methods. New materials for storage, sensing and separation of gases are of significant commercial interest, and our aim is to facilitate the process of materials design by providing tools and methodologies that can be used routinely to understand solid-gas interactions.
Research will be focused on the synthesis of new molecular solids as possible porous substrates and the investigation of their structure-property relationships under non-ambient conditions.
The methodology implemented in this project will involve sharing of in-house techniques in order to jointly study new materials in a unique manner, primarily by means of X-ray diffraction analysis.
The synthesis and preliminary characterization will be performed at the University of Salerno (Italy), physical chemical characterization will take place at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa), the structural characterization using synchrotron and neutron diffraction at ESRF and ILL (France).
Researchers from the University of Salerno and ESRF/ILL will travel to South Africa to carry out physic-chemical characterization, using a gas cell developed at the University of Stellenbosch. South African researchers will travel to Italy to prepare new compounds and carry out specialized crystallization studies. South African researchers will have also the possibility to stay at ESRF/ILL to conduct detailed in-situ structural studies using synchrotron and/or neutron diffraction.
The work is expected to yield several publications in top-quality journals, as well as patents on designs of environmental gas cells. Socioeconomic benefits may be derived from the possible development of strategies for the design of new porous materials and the study of the process of gas sorption and release.
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