Research Fellows Directory
Professor Russell Morris
University of St Andrews
Nanoporous solids such as metal organic frameworks and zeolites are solids that have pores, channels and cavities (‘holes’) that are of similar size to small molecules, from about 1 nm (0.000000001 m) to 100 nm (0.0000001 m) in diameter. One consequence of this is that they have extremely high surface areas – normal solids only have external surface, while nano porous frameworks have external and internal surface. The internal surface area can be extremely large, with 1 g of some of the most porous materials having a surface area about the same as a football field! This means that these porous solids can be used as molecular sieves, where different chemicals can be separated based on how strongly they interact with the surface. This is particularly important for the separation of valuable components in fuels from less valuable ones. As part of this industry fellowship I am looking at how new technology such as MOFs can be utilised in an industrial setting, and looking at how these materials can be developed and characterised using new methods.
However, as well as separations the very highly porous nature of metal organic frameworks means that they are ideal for delivering large payloads of active molecules. We have also been studying this aspect of frameworks by using them to deliver antibacterial agents, and these have turned out to be especially good for killing biofilms.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)