We undertake a wide range of research in our underpinning area - the development of new solid-state molecular materials with optimised properties. Our materials development is based around the concept of Crystal Engineering, and involves joining molecules together using intermolecular interactions such as hydrogen bonds. Our "synthesis" is usually very gentle conditions - based on the crystallisation or co-crystallisation of components. Underlying this is an appreciation of and interest in the fundamentals of solid-state molecular association, including studies of hydrogen bonding and polymorphism.
The target physical properties for our materials discovery include optical (colour, refractive index, non-linear effects), electronic effects, porosity, mechanical (e.g. compressibility), particle size & shape control and solubility. These target properties are directly relevant to our research in the two "application" domains in which much of our current work is rooted:
The generation and control of optical and electronic properties, and the generation of porosity in solid state molecular systems, are key drivers within the M4 programme, part of our work in Dynamic Switchable Chemistry;
The properties of solubility and compressibility are crucial for the manufacture and processing of a solid forms of a range of fine chemicals including pharmaceuticals and agrichemicals, while control of particle size and shape is vital for processing; we are exploring these effects particularly ion the continuous crystallisation environment that is a key driver with our work in Crystallisation for Manufacturing.
Group Leader Chick Wilson is part of a team awarded £1.5M EU ERDF funding for Sustainable Technologies. The team is led by Prof Matt Davidson, of the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, and is a collaboration with the Univ Innovation Centre
Work led by Dr Karen Robertson and Pierre-Baptiste Flandrin has been featured by our industrial collaborator Vapourtec, with whom we have been working to develop capabilities for particle control within flow chemistry.
Lauren Agnew recently undertook a four-month secondment at Astra Zeneca as part of the CMAC industrial placements scheme. Lauren writes about her experience here, and liked it so much she has recently taken up a position at AZ!
The group were well represented at the recent ISIC20 conference in Dublin, with posters from Lauren Agnew, Ruth Lunt and Lois Wayment, and Alex Cousen presenting a talk at the meeting.