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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C528816/1
Title: Making Molecules That Work
Principal Investigator: Templer, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Gibson, Professor V Rzepa, Professor HS Kornyshev, Professor AA
Long, Professor N Braddock, Professor DC Williams, Professor CK
Davies, Dr R Lickiss, Professor P Taylor, Dr AG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 23 May 2005 Ends: 22 May 2007 Value (£): 253,128
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Structure Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The four different research projects described in this proposal vary widely in what they wish to investigate and so they are described separately below.Molecular teaspoons: As technology continues to miniaturise we are moving into the the nanoworld. This project seeks to move towards a molecular teaspoon, where the spoon is one billionth of a meter in diameter. By using light and an applied voltage it is possible to switch on the motion. These spoons will be located in the area between liquids, the interface. (You have seen these with olive oil and vinegar in salad dressing.) Think of this as, add light, stir liquids, mix the dressing and all without shaking.Molecular Fuel tanks: There is a current desire to move away from traditional energy sources such as petroleum, towards new eco-friendly fuels such as hydrogen. Hydrogen is particularly desirable as a fuel as its main by-product after reaction with oxygen, either by combustion or in a fuel cell, is water. However, there are several technological challenges to overcome in order to achieve this transition, one of which is the safe storage of hydrogen gas. We propose to make new types of porous solid consisting of frameworks of silica-like and metal building blocks. These molecular fuel tanks will act as sponges for the reversible storage of hydrogen gas with potential applications in mobile electronic devices and the automotive industry.Biocompatible Adhesives: The goal is to develop sustainable and efficient synthesis of commodity plastics, poyurethanes. These plastics are consumed at a global rate of around 9 million tons per year and are sold as adhesives, foams and fibres, for applications in construction, transportation and furniture. Recently, they have emerged as biocompatible materials for the manufacture of medical tubing, implants, adhesives and tissue regeneration matrices. Such high value and high growth medical markets demand future generations of polyurethanes with increased purity and structural homogeneity. We will address this using metalcatalysed living polymerisation which exerts such control and has been reported for most commodity plastics, with the exception of polyurethanes. The usual synthesis of such materials, via the polycondensation of isocyanates with diols or diamines, is often accelerated with toxic tin or mercury additives. We propose to introduce a living polymerisation route using renewable resources, carbon dioxide and commercially available nitrogen heterocycles.Foliacenes: Rationally designed metal-based catalysts play a vital role in everyday processes from the production of polyethylene used for plastics to reduction of noxious gases in catalytic converters in car exhausts. Usually, the metal sits in the middle of a molecular carbon-based scaffold and the properties of the metal centre can be fine-tuned by modifying the structure of the scaffold. A typical scaffold can be described as a sandwich consisting of two flat carbon rings directly above and below a given metal. When the metal is iron the compound is particularly stable, and the total number of electrons which glue the structure together is 18. Thus, 18 can be considered as the magic number for attaining stability. Computer calculations performed at Imperial College London show that it may be possible to achieve the magic number of 18 by a completely novel configuration of metal and carbon scaffold. Computer generated images show these new compounds to be nest' shaped, with the metal sitting like an egg in the middle. The Greek word for nest is folia and we have named these new compounds foliacenes . The challenge now is to make them in the laboratory and compare their actual properties with those predicted computationally. Because of the completely different shape of the nest-shaped scaffold, it is to be expected that the foliacenes will exhibit catalytic activities and molecular properties neverpreviously observed.
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk