Christmas gone … and 2021 off to a bumpy start!

After a very unusual year, a fun online Christmas party with some great prizes (cleaning someone else’s FH, changing the base bath, to mention some of the more interesting prizes!), we all retreated for a quiet, peaceful and restful Christmas.

So, 2021 started with another lockdown, but we are grateful for testing faciltiies and the opportunity to be back in the lab.

Wishing all a safe and healthy 2021!

Talk by Anita Etale… on water purification

Great to have Anita and her research group (from the Global Change Institute and School of Chemistry, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa) visit on Zoom.

Anita gave a great talk on the challenges around acid main drainage, and the consequent impact on drinking water quality in informal settlements around Johannesburg.

Looking forward to developing some of the ideas generated and discussed into some exciting science with real impact! Thanks Anita!

Another joint paper with the Manners group!

Another joint paper with our long-standing collaborators, the Manners Group (now at the University of Victoria). Charlie (lead author) and Liam (another former joint student) contributed to a paper on the surface patterning of uniform 2D platelet block co-micelles – published in ACS Macro Letters! We show the formation of rectangular platelets containing two block copolymers with different coronal chemistries. On addition of a solvent that is only able to solvate the corona of one block,  colloidally stable micelles with patterned surfaces via coronal collapse are formed.

Well done to all involved in this productive and long-standing collaboration!


Welcome to Connie and Julia!

Great to have the first new graduate students of the year joining the FRG! Connie (left) and Julia (middle) are both on the Cabot Institute’s Master’s by Research in Global Environmental Challenges degree programme, and about to start their projects in our laboratories!


Here they are, COVID safe, and socially distanced, on their first day in the lab with Veronica (right). Welcome! Trust that you will have a inspiring and productive year, despite things being done very differently than before!

Paper with Wei and Yaozu in Chemistry of Materials!

Continuing the Faul Research Group’s long-standing collaboration with Yaozu and Wei (and Yaozu’s group at Donghua University in Shanghai), our latest paper just appeared in Chemistry of Materials! And of course great to have Arne Thomas (TU Berlin) involved in the study as well!

The study, entitled “Conjugated Microporous Polymer Network Grafted Carbon Nanotube Fibers with Tunable Redox Activity for Efficient Flexible Wearable Energy Storage” explores novel fiber-shaped supercapacitors (FSCs) as promising flexible energy storage devices.

Congrats to all involved – especially Wei as first author of this very nice study!


Back in the office … for the first time since March!

It was Charl’s first day back in his office since March! Although Faul group members have been back in the labs since early June (with labs currently at 50% occupancy), Charl has been working from home! His office has also been used by the group as an additional safe working space.

Was great to be back in the office today, for the whole day! And to be able to enjoy the glorious sunshine view from the 6th floor!

Joint paper with Jie!

In a new study that just appeared online in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, work with former group member Jie continued to explore Hansen Solubility Parameters as a tool to tune structure and function in porous materials! Congrats Jie!

Here we expand our recently reported Bristol-Xi’an Jiaotong (BXJ) approach using simple salts to fine-tune the porosity of conjugated microporous materials synthesized by various reaction approaches, including Buchwald-Hartwig (BH), Sonogashira-Hagihara, oxidative coupling and Suzuki cross-coupling.

Read the full paper entitled “Exploiting Hansen Solubility Parameters to Tune Porosity and Function in Conjugated Microporous Polymers” here – published open access, so free to download!