Case studies

Development of the First Mesoporous Carbon Nitride (MCN) Materials with Tunable Pore Structures and Textural Parameters

(JP Patent Appl. No. 2004-316596)

Professor Vinu has introduced a general strategy for the preparation of highly ordered hexagonal mesoporous carbon nitride (MCN) materials, designated as MCN-1, with a uniform pore size distribution using a simple polymerization reaction between ethylenediamine and carbon tetrachloride using a nano hard-templating method (Adv. Mater. 2005, 17, 1648; Angew Chem. 2009, 48, 7884; Angew. Chem. 2010, 49, 5961-5965; JP Patent 2004-316596).

This is the first report of ordered nanoporous nitrides and has created a new field in porous materials research. One of the important features of the materials is that they have both inbuilt basic sites in the form of NH2 or NH groups and a semiconducting framework structure with ordered pores. These properties make them exciting candidates for the capture and conversion of CO2 molecules into value added products with the help of sunlight and water. Other researchers have realized the importance of the field and this new material, and recently, many leading researchers including Prof. Kazunari Domen, The University of Tokyo, Prof. Mietek Jaroniec, Kent State University, and Prof. Dongyuan Zhao, Fudan University have started to work on applications of these materials for hydrogen evolution, basic catalysis, energy storage and conversion. View more information on the patent.

Developed a Novel Class of Nanoporous Carbon Materials

(JP patent Appl. No. 2005-022234, JP Patent Appl. No. 2009-021407)

Professor Vinu has also developed a novel class of nanoporous carbon materials including carbon nanocage, and nanocoops, hexagonal and cubic nanoporous carbons with different textural parameters.Novel nanoporous carbon nanocage (CNC) materials with a very high surface area of more than 1600m2/g and pore volume of 2.2 cm3/g have been successfully synthesized for the first time using a nanotemplating technique via the “controlled pore filling method” which he developed.

This material has been selected as the ‘NIMS material’ of the year 2006 and one of the 50 most attractive materials from Japan (JACS 2008, 129, 11022; JP patent 2005-022234; J. Mater. Chem. 2005, 15, 5122). These materials show very high adsorption capacity for proteins, amino acids, DNA and organic dyes. Professor Vinu has demonstrated the importance of pore engineering in CNC design. Very high selectivity for adsorption of tea components (catechin and tannic acid) was achieved through a simple one-pot process using CNC materials (JACS 2008, 129, 11022).

These discoveries attracted interest from industries in Japan (Taiyo Kagaku and Kurita Water Industries) that have started to collaborate with our group and signed a Non-disclosure agreement with NIMS for the usage of the materials. Very recently, Professor Vinu has discovered the first nanoporous fullerene materials with highly ordered porous structure and high surface area. One of the exciting features of the materials is its very high conductivity that is in the range of 25 to 250S/cm. Professor Vinu designed a specific synthesis protocol to prepare these exciting materials by combining the solution chemistry of fullerene with the nanotemplating pathway which can control the conductivity with a simple adjustment of the framework structure of the nanoporous fullerene (JP Patent 2009-021407). Electrochemical studies showed that this material is a good candidate as an electrode for fuel cells and supercapacitors.

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