Research

Our research focuses on the area of functional organic materials chemistry covering length scales from the atomic up to the macroscopic. Our core goal is to synthesize materials with structures and functions that are not found in other systems. We also focus on developing fundamental methods to achieve control over organic materials structure at the atomic level as a platform to enable a broad range of applications in areas such as energy. Our programme is a unique combination of computation, experiments, and robotics.
Examples of materials with unique function developed in our group include the first nanoporous polymers with extended conjugation (‘CMPs’, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2007), the first permanently porous organic cages (Nature Mater., 2009), the first ‘porous liquids’ (Nature, 2015; a collaboration with Prof. Stuart James), and organic polymers and covalent organic frameworks for photochemical hydrogen production from water (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015; Nature Chem., 2018).
We also use computational methods to design targeted functionality into organic solids by understanding and predicting the underlying molecular assembly processes (Nature, 2011; Nature, 2017; in collaboration with Prof. Graeme Day).
We are also developing new ways to automate chemistry in the Materials Innovation Factory – most recently by developing mobile ‘robotic chemists’ for autonomous experimentation

We regularly work with industry to develop commercial products and processes, this can be in the form of collaborative and contract research projects, consultancy or knowledge transfer partnerships. We have a dedicated Knowledge Exchange Scientist that manages these interactions; please contact Dr Becky Docherty (rebecca.docherty@liverpool.ac.uk; +44 7889 646 100) if you want to work with us.