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Research Fellows Directory

Neil Champness

Professor Neil Champness

Research Fellow


University of Nottingham

Research summary

Our research lies at the heart of nanoscience, a highly exciting area of modern science that promises possible revolutions in the way we tackle modern world challenges, including problems in climate change, energy generation and the medical sciences. Working on the nanoscale, typically 1-100nm, offers many opportunities due to changes in properties of some materials at that scale, or simply due to size compatibility of materials and targets at such small length scales. We focus on the control of molecular organization, the ability to position molecules with respect to one another and to understand their resultant properties.

We are developing methods of making self-assembled materials that have the ability to trap molecules within nanoscale pores and cavities. Our studies focus on making materials, known as Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) that are 3D solids that have pores sufficiently small to trap molecules such as hydrogen gas, an exciting energy source and potential alternative to fossil fuels. Our ability to control relative molecular organization allows us to manipulate the properties of molecules and determine their environment. We have developed a new class of MOFs that incorporate photoactive components which absorb specific frequencies of light leading, in some instances, to chemical transformations. We have demonstrated that the nature of the photoactivated process can be modified by incorporation of the molecular species within the MOF environment. Indeed the environment provided by the MOF can be considered as “gas like” or even has been compared to the incorporation of reactive centres within enzymes.

We are also successfully using self-assembly to prepare 2D arrays on surfaces. Imaging at the molecular level allows understanding of how molecules behave in this environment. We have recently demonstrated that we can start to build structures away from the surface giving us an unprecedented level of control over molecular organization.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Self-assembly of Photoactive Metal Organic Frameworks

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: Sep 2011 - Aug 2016

Value: £90,000

Scheme: Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship

Dates: Sep 2010 - Aug 2011

Value: £46,573