Huan DOAN, PhD, AMRSC

EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow

STEM for BRITAIN

I am currently an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow at the University of Bristol. I hold a BSc and an MSc in Chemical Engineering (2009 and 2012, Hanoi University of Mining and Geology, Vietnam), an MRes in Sustainable Chemical Technologies (2015, University of Bath, UK) and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering (2019, University of Bristol, UK).

I am working on the synthesis and characterisation of porous materials (metal-organic frameworks, zeolites and functional silicas) to address challenges in sustainable development (catalysis, gas separation and energy storage).

I have demonstrated the impact of my research through participation in a diverse range of outreach activities to raise public awareness and foster industrial collaboration. Recently, I have been selected to present my work to MPs at the prestigious 2019 STEM for BRITAIN in the Houses of Parliament. My research contributions to the University of Bristol and to the wider community have been recognised by the Inspirational Bristol Scientist Award in 2019.

MY CURRENT RESEARCH

Defective hierarchical porous copper-based metal-organic frameworks synthesised via facile acid etching strategy

Introducing hierarchical pore structure to microporous materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can be beneficial for reactions where the rate of reaction is limited by low rates of diffusion or high pressure drop. This advantageous pore structure can be obtained by defect formation, mostly via post-synthetic acid etching, which has been studied extensively on water-stable MOFs. Here we show that a water-unstable HKUST-1 MOF can also be modified in a corresponding manner by using phosphoric acid as a size-selective etching agent and a mixture of dimethyl sulfoxide and methanol as a dilute solvent. 

Interestingly, we demonstrate that the etching process which is time- and acidity- dependent, can result in formation of defective HKUST-1 with extra interconnected hexagonal macropores without compromising on the bulk crystallinity. These findings suggest an intelligent scalable synthetic method for formation of hierarchical porosity in MOFs that are prone to hydrolysis, for improved molecular accessibility and diffusion for catalysis.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-47314-1

Controlled formation of hierarchical metal–organic frameworks using CO2-expanded solvent systems

This work concerns the rapid synthesis of an archetypical metal-organic framework (MOF) material (HKUST-1) whereby the addition of supercritical CO2. The advantages of this method are that it allows a drastic reduction in the amounts of conventional solvents required for synthesis whilst removing the need for a separate post-synthetic solvent removal step and affording control over macroporosity in the resulting crystallites.