Back in the labs!

It is with great excitement that the first team (of three) started to do lab work again today! It was a long break, but we are all very excited to go back – and grateful for the fantastic job done by the University of Bristol’s Estate Services, and Prof Paul Pringle and his safety team in the School of Chemistry, to ensure a safe return for all!

The lab was cleaned and decluttered on Friday and yesterday – it has not been this neat, tidy and clean since we moved in! A big thank you to everyone who contributed to make this new way of working (with socially distanced working, seating arrangements and one-way system, amongst many new procedures!) possible.

Charl speaking in Shanghai!

Charl was invited to speak at the “Frontiers in Advanced Materials” meeting organised by the Shanghai Universities League Forum (SULF) 2020. This meeting was hosted by long-standing collaborators Prof Meifang Zhu and Prof Yaozu Liao at Donghua.


Exciting morning (in the UK!) of talks by colleagues from across the globe, including good friend Arne Thomas (TU Berlin) and Jiayin Yuan (Stockholm).

Kamran’s paper accepted!

A paper by our collaborators at the National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing (Prof Zhixiang Wei and his group, with contributions from Charl) was just accepted. The lead author is Kamran, who visited last year and October (and still attends some group meetings and social events, virtually!)!

The paper, in the RSC’s Sustainable Energy & Fuels, discusses the use of a coaxial nanocomposite of an active anthraquinone-based Covalent Organic Framework (AQ-COF) and carbon nanotubes for Lithium Ion Battery applications. AQ-COF was grown on the surface of carbon nanotubes (AQ-COF@CNTs) through an in-situ polymerization to improve the conductivity and to facilitate the electrochemical properties. Please read here for further details! Congratulations to Kamran and the other authors!

Lockdown update

It has been a while since we closed our labs down, and all of us went into lockdown! We are grateful that everyone in the group (and their families) are safe and well.

Zoom (and bluejeans and skype and WeChat!) has become our lifeblood for group meetings, coffee catch-ups, recipe exchanges, small-group meetings, writing papers, working together, exchanging very lame jokes and much more!

Royal Fort Gardens – Taken on the morning after the lab was shut down!

Keep well, and stay safe!

Final year project presentations!

We enjoyed an exciting day of science earlier this week when all of our Final Year MSci Undergraduate students presented the results from their efforts of the past 5 months!

It was a great opportunity to learn about their research, but also to celebrate their success – EJ was one of the prize winners! Well done to all – fantastic job!

And, in true Faul Research Group style, we ended the day of science with a group meal!!

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!

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!