Luke’s paper appeared online!

A paper on switchable azobenzene-based liquid crystals by Luke, who visited in July 2019, and supervised by collaborator Rico Tabor (and co-supervised by Charl!), just appeared online in the RSC’s PCCP.

The study, entitled “Structural relationships for the design of responsive azobenzene-based lyotropic liquid crystals” explored light-responsive binary (azobenzene + solvent) lyotropic liquid crystals (LCs), and investigated their phase behaviour by structural modification of simple azobenzene molecules. A range of scattering and microscopy techniques were employed to explore the influence of structure and light-switchable nature on phase behaviour in these very interesting systems. Well done to Luke and all collaborators!

Postdoc fellowship scheme – Newton International Fellowships

The Newton International Fellowship scheme is now open for applications. These fellowships are for non-UK scientists who are at an early stage of their research career and wish to conduct research in the UK.

If you are interested to apply for such a fellowship with the support of Professor Faul, please contact him and attach a relevant one-page research outline and two letters of support before Monday, 17th of February. Please note that the University of Bristol has an internal deadline of at least one week before the close of the applications (i.e., by Thursday, 19th of March).

Please see the detailed guidance notes from the Royal Society here.

Excellent start to 2020!

The Faul Research Group has had an excellent start to 2020 – Neha joined the group as a long-term visitor from VISCTEC, Thailand (from the group of Prof Valerio D’Elia), and Charl (after a great break in South Africa) is visiting IIT Kharagpur again as part of his Indian-government funded SPARC programme.

As part of the SPARC project, project partners Professors Patra and Mishra are the convenors and organisers of the “Functional Smart & Supramolecular Materials 2020” workshop, which will take place later this week (29 & 30 January) in Kharagpur. This is bound to be an outstanding event, looking at the list of speakers!


Pan’s paper accepted … and now online

A paper by Pan (with collaborators from the Schroeder Group at UCL and Chemical Engineering in Bath) was just accepted for publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. The study, on the use of new conjugated microporous polymers for gas and vapour sorption and detection, provides insight into the use of CMPs for applications very relevant to the issues of indoor air quality and sensing.

The paper has now appeared as just accepted! Congratulations to all involved!

SPARC programme with the IIT Kharagpur

Charl is currently visiting the Department of Chemistry,  IIT Kharagpur, as part of the active SPARC project (funded by the Indian Government) with Sanjib Patra and Sabyashachi Mishra and their groups.

This is Charl’s first visit to India, and has been a great opportunity to discuss science with many colleagues, give lectures, and enjoy the local food and culture!

Here Charl is enjoying a home-cooked meal at Sanjib’s house, with Sanjib, Ganesh (who was a post-doc in the Aggarwal group in Bristol!), and Sabyashachi.

Plenary in Shanghai!

Charl gave a plenary lecture at Donghua University’s 9th International Conference on Advance Fibers and Polymer Materials.

The conference, organised by the State Key Laboratory for Modification of Fibers and Polymer Materials, included a range of contributions from the USA, China, UK, Germany, Japan and Korea (amongst others!).

Charl also had to the opportunity to catch up with Yaozu, Wei (former FRG members now at Donghua), as well as collaborators Prof Hiroshi Kitagawa (Kyoto, Japan), and Dr Samuel Chigome (BITRI, Botswana).

Lecture tour in Taiwan

Charl was invited by Prof Chien-Lung Wang (from the Department of Applied Chemistry, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan) to visit Taiwan and give a short series of lectures at three top universities in Taiwan.

This invitation was a great opportunity to meet colleagues and give a series of lectures at:

  • National Chiao Tung University (host – Prof. Chien-Lung Wang, Department of Applied Chemistry)

    • National Taiwan University (host – Prof. Jye-Shane Yang, Department of Chemistry)
  • National Tsing Hua University (host – Prof. Hsin-Lung Chen, Deptartment of Chemical Engineering)

Great opportunity to showcase some of the latest research from the Faul Research Group – thank you!

Paper with Donghua University, Shanghai!

A new study, where Charl contributed to on-going collaborative activities with former postdoc (and now professor at Donghua) Yaozu Liao, was published in Chemical Engineering Journal. This study explored modified tetraphenylmethane (TPM)-based POPs i.e. mPTPMs (synthesized via Buchwald-Hartwig cross-coupling of a tetrakis(4-bromophenyl) methane core and selected aryl diamine linkers, followed by a crosslinking alkylation strategy using diiodomethane as a crosslinker).


This new strategy offers mPTPMs with high surface areas, uniform ultramicropores where porous properties are readily controlled by the substitutions of linkers and the crosslinker. More details on the paper entitled “A crosslinking alkylation strategy to construct nitrogen-enriched tetraphenylmethane-based porous organic polymers as efficient carbon dioxide and iodine adsorbents” to follow soon!

Well done to all involved!

For the Africa we want!

Charl was privileged to be invited to attend the Royal Society and African Academy of SciencesConnecting Minds Africa 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.It was a great opportunity to meet a large number of bright and ambitious young academics from all over Africa, including Future Leader-African Independent Researcher (FLAIR) Fellows.

Charl also had the chance to meet his mentee, FLAIR Fellow and up-and-coming academic Professor Balla Diop Ngom from Dakar, Senegal!