Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Cage molecules act as molecular sieves for hydrogen isotope separation

Formation of a cocrystal enhances the D2/H2 separation performance.

CREDIT
University of Liverpool
Formation of a cocrystal enhances the D2/H2 separation performance. CREDIT University of Liverpool

Abstract:
A new hybrid material developed by scientists at the University of Liverpool may bring the dream of carbon-free nuclear fusion power a step closer.

Cage molecules act as molecular sieves for hydrogen isotope separation

Liverpool, UK | Posted on November 1st, 2019

The separation of hydrogen's three isotopes (hydrogen, deuterium, and tritium) is of key importance for fusion power technology, but current technologies are both energy intensive and inefficient. Nanoporous materials have the potential to separate hydrogen isotopes by a process known as kinetic quantum sieving (KQS), but poor performance levels currently prohibit scale up.

In a new study published in Science, researchers at the University of Liverpool's Materials Innovation Factory have created hybrid porous organic cages capable of high-performance quantum sieving that could help advance the deuterium/hydrogen isotope separation technologies needed for fusion power.

Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, has a number of commercial and scientific uses, including nuclear power, NMR spectroscopy and pharmacology. These applications need high-purity deuterium, which is expensive because of its low natural abundance. Deuterium enrichment from hydrogen-containing feedstocks, such as seawater, is an important industrial process, but it's costly and energy intensive.

Porous organic cages are an emerging porous material, first reported by Professor Andrew Cooper's group at the University of Liverpool in 2009, which have been used previously for the separation of xylene isomers, noble gases, and chiral molecules.

However, purifying deuterium from hydrogen/deuterium gas mixtures in this way is difficult because both isotopes have the same size and shape at normal conditions. By combining small-pore and large-pore cages together in a single solid, the group has now produced a material with high-quality separation performance that combines an excellent deuterium/hydrogen selectivity with a high deuterium uptake.

The research was led by Professor Andrew Cooper FRS, whose team at the Materials Innovation Factory designed and synthesised the new cage systems. A separate team led by Dr Michael Hirscher at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems tested the separation performance using cryogenic thermal desorption spectroscopy.

Professor Cooper said: "The separation of hydrogen isotopes are some of the hardest molecular separations known today. The 'Holy Grail' for hydrogen / deuterium separation is to introduce precisely the right pore size to achieve high selectivity without compromising the gas uptake too much."

"Our approach allows extremely delicate tuning of pore size--the entire tunability window for this series of cages spans the diameter a single nitrogen atom--and this ideally suits applications such as KQS."

Lead author Dr Ming Liu added: "While the synthetic approach involves multistep organic synthesis, each step proceeds in close to 100% yield and there is no intermediate purification, so there is good potential to scale these materials up."

Structural studies performed at the UK's Diamond Light Source and the Advanced Light Source in California, enabled the Liverpool team to develop a site selective, solid state reaction, which enabled the pore size of the porous organic cages to be delicately tuned. These studies also enabled the team to design and understand the structure of their best performing material, which combined small-pore and large-pore cages. Co-author Dr Marc Little added: "Data collected at these world leading facilities underpinned our key structural findings and were an integral part of this study."

The mechanistic understanding of the superior performance of these materials was supported by a joint computational effort, led by Dr Linjiang Chen from the Leverhulme Research Centre for Functional Materials Design in the Materials Innovation Factory, also involving theoretical groups from Xi'an JiaoTong-Liverpool University (China) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland).

Although the reported material has excellent performance to separate deuterium from hydrogen, the ideal operation temperature is low (30 K). The group is now working on designing a new material that can separate hydrogen isotopes at higher temperatures.

###

The research was supported by EPSRC, the European Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Chinese Scholarship Council.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Nicola Frost

Copyright © University of Liverpool

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Related News Press

News and information

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Scientists discover new class of semiconducting entropy-stabilized materials July 31st, 2020

Physics

Atomtronic device could probe boundary between quantum, everyday worlds: Clouds of supercooled atoms offer highly sensitive rotation sensors and tests of quantum mechanics July 17th, 2020

Quantum simulation: Particle behavior near the event horizon of block hole July 16th, 2020

Towards lasers powerful enough to investigate a new kind of physics: An international team of researchers has demonstrated an innovative technique for increasing the intensity of lasers July 3rd, 2020

The nature of nuclear forces imprinted in photons June 30th, 2020

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties July 31st, 2020

Scientists discover new class of semiconducting entropy-stabilized materials July 31st, 2020

Nanoreactor strategy generates superior supported bimetallic catalysts July 31st, 2020

Study: Mapping crystal shapes could fast-track 2D materials: Experts call for global effort to clear hurdles to mass production July 27th, 2020

Possible Futures

Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties July 31st, 2020

Way, shape and form: Synthesis conditions define the nanostructure of manganese dioxide July 31st, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

Scientists discover new class of semiconducting entropy-stabilized materials July 31st, 2020

Discoveries

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

Way, shape and form: Synthesis conditions define the nanostructure of manganese dioxide July 31st, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Announcements

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Scientists discover new class of semiconducting entropy-stabilized materials July 31st, 2020

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

When Dirac meets frustrated magnetism August 3rd, 2020

Way, shape and form: Synthesis conditions define the nanostructure of manganese dioxide July 31st, 2020

New printing process advances 3D capabilities: Technology aims to improve quality of products used in business, industry and at home July 31st, 2020

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

Energy

TU Graz researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications July 31st, 2020

'Blinking" crystals may convert CO2 into fuels: Unusual nanoparticles could benefit the quest to build a quantum computer July 17th, 2020

Membrane technology could cut emissions and energy use in oil refining July 17th, 2020

Graphene: It is all about the toppings: To fully exploit the potential of the'wonder material' graphene, it has to be combined with other materials July 10th, 2020

Research partnerships

Discovery of disordered nanolayers in intermetallic alloys: Resolving alloys' strength-ductility trade-off and thermal instability July 24th, 2020

Russian scientists identified energy storage mechanism of sodium-ion battery anode July 24th, 2020

HORIBA Medical and CEA-Leti Strengthen Their Partnership to Develop Tomorrow’s Diagnostics at the Point of Care July 21st, 2020

'Blinking" crystals may convert CO2 into fuels: Unusual nanoparticles could benefit the quest to build a quantum computer July 17th, 2020

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project