UK Porous Materials Group
Background & History
The UK Porous Materials Conference is the annual meeting of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Porous Materials Interest Group.
The field of porous materials has, in the past 20 years, undergone a renaissance. Some of the materials classes which are included within this field include Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), Covalent Organic Frameworks, Porous Organic Cages, Porous Polymers, Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity and Zeolites. The field is continuing to expand. For example, the number of reported compounds of each continue to grow, and, in the MOF field alone, over 100,000 structures now exist in the Cambridge Structural Database. We conservatively estimate that >500 undergraduate, postgraduate, and postdoctoral researchers are currently active in the field within the UK across over 50 research groups.
The majority of research into porous materials focuses on a combination of new materials discovery, complex materials characterization, and applications. Constant advances are being made across the board, including the development of genetic algorithms, robotics-led synthesis programs, new synchrotron radiation beamlines, and time resolved spectroscopic techniques, while unusual materials such as porous liquids continue to be discovered. A wide range of applications are proposed for the broader materials class, including sorption and separation, drug delivery, catalysis, water harvesting, and ion transport, with support from established chemical industry and a growing group of UK-based spin-out companies and SMEs.
The porous materials community, which has previously been supported by the British Zeolite Association (BZA), has developed into a dedicated interest group. The BZA traditionally focuses on the chemistry and applications of zeolites within the UK, but the scientific similarities to MOFs and later other related porous materials, both in terms of physical properties and potential applications, have resulted in the development of joint activities as the area evolves. In 2016 the BZA committee, and specifically Thomas Bennett (Cambridge) and Tina Düren (Bath), established a national ‘MOF and Porous Organic Materials’ symposium. For the first two years, this was held in parallel with the longstanding British Zeolite Association Annual Meeting.
Prize-winners at the 2018 meeting in Southampton
In April 2018, Tom and Tina, with Ross Forgan (Glasgow) and Darren Bradshaw (Southampton), organised a highly successful, independent, two-day national symposium at Southampton, which attracted over 100 delegates. At this meeting, Timothy Easun (Cardiff) joined the organising committee and volunteered to host the 2019 conference, the 4th of its kind, at the School of Chemistry at Cardiff University.
After that meeting, the group established a committee and formally became the Royal Society of Chemistry Porous Materials Interest Group, the webpages of which can be found here.
In 2021, the group co-organised part of the FEZA2021 international conference, and in 2022 returned to a UK meeting in Glasgow, hosted by Miguel Jorge (Strathclyde). Over 220 participants attended this very successful meeting. The 2023 meeting was held in Sheffield, ably organised by the local team led by Rob Dawson.