Research Fellows Directory
Dr Ross Forgan
University of Glasgow
As a materials chemist with interests in inorganic, organic and supramolecular chemistry, my research is focussed on the development of new porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with applications in green energy processes. By combining metal ‘joints’ with organic ‘struts’ it is possible to assemble crystalline materials which contain arrays of pores and channels on the nanometre scale. In these “crystal sponges” one can store a variety of target materials, including carbon dioxide for carbon capture and hydrogen for fuel cells, and also carry out
chemical transformations. We are developing highly functionalised derivatives with pores which resemble the active sites of enzymes – Nature’s catalysts – and are assessing their use as heterogeneous catalysts. By confining species of interest within these nanoscale pores it is possible to enhance their reactivity to promote otherwise unfavourable chemical reactions. We are very interested in the relatively high pressures of gases that can be achieved inside MOFs and using this phenomenon as a tool to drive industrially relevant reactions such as the Haber process, which produces ammonia to be used in fertilizers, and is vital to ensure adequate food supplies for a growing population. The research has the potential
to widely impact both fundamental chemical studies and industrial transformations, by lowering the energy cost and thus environmental impact of hugely important chemical processes. Clean energy processes may also benefit, as new materials are continually assessed for applications such as CO2 capture and storage. An offshoot of this research has been the discovery of a new synthetic process to prepare functionalised nanoparticles of these MOFs, and we are investigating their use as targeted drug delivery agents, to deliver anti-cancer
pharmaceuticals directly to tumours and so mitigate unpleasant side effects – clearly a desirable societal benefit.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)