Hiroshi Kitagawa from Kyoto visiting the FRG!

Prof Hiroshi Kitagawa (Department of Chemistry, Kyoto University) spent two days with the Faul Research Group. It was a pleasure to have a world-leading scientist interacting with many in the group (and enjoying some of the  group’s local activities!).

Prof Kitagawa gave a fantastic talk on his “Conductive Coordination Networks“, showcasing some of the very detailed studies on his various porous metal-containing MOF architectures. Very impressive!

Quick visit to Donghua University’s State Key Lab

Charl was invited to join the International Advisory Committee for Donghua University‘s State Key Laboratory for Fibers and Polymer Materials in Shanghai. It was a great opportunity to have a fantastic overview of the science done in this exciting area, but also to meet friends and colleagues from China, the USA, Europe, Singapore and Africa!


It was also a great opportunity to catch up with former postdoc (and now professor at Donghua), Yaozu Liao, and to meet a fellow African, Dr Samuel Chigome from the  Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI)!


Starting the year on a high note – first publication!

Happy 2019! The year has started on a high note, with our first paper (joint with our collaborators Jiangfei Xu and Xi Zhang from the Department of Chemistry at Tsinghua) just accepted and appeared online in Chemistry Society Reviews!

Henry and Charl contributed to the tutorial review, entitled “Molecular Engineering of Polymeric Supra-amphiphiles“, where the concept of supra-amphiphiles is introduced and discussed in detail! Well done to all involved!

And now Ben’s paper – accepted and published online!

It has been a great week for publications! Ben’s paper was recently accepted, and just appeared earlier today on the MSDE (Molecular Systems Design & Engineering) website! This study, entitled “Tipping the polaron–bipolaron balance: concentration and spin effects in doped oligo(aniline)s observed by UV-vis-NIR and TD DFT” is an invited contribution to the special themed collection “Soft Materials Nanoarchitectonics”.

We describe a robust computational protocol for modelling the molecular geometries, electronic structures and absorption spectra of oligomers of the widely-used and versatile conducting polymer, poly(aniline). By comparing experimental UV-vis-NIR and EPR spectra with TD-DFT simulations, we discovered it is possible to switch reversibly between diamagnetic and paramagnetic forms (bipolaronic and polaronic states) of oligo(aniline)s in solution simply by adjusting dopant concentrations – a finding which could reinvigorate research into conduction mechanisms in poly(aniline) and related materials, as well as allowing control of material properties and functionality.

Well done Ben, Shao, Steph, and collaborators Dave, Patrice and Natalie!

University of Rennes1, France

Charl was invited, as visiting professor, to spend a few days at the University of Rennes1 by former postdoc Dr Franck Camerel. Franck, who is in the MaCSE (Matière Condensée et Systèmes Electroactifs) group,

Several days of excellent and stimulating scientific discussions were closely accompanied by good food, and the pleasure of seeing old friends again! Thank you Franck!

Back in Beijing!

Charl joined an international panel of experts to help with the external evaluation of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at BIT (Beijing Institute of Technology). The evaluation ended with a series of scientific seminars by some panel members, including Prof. Donglin Jiang (now at NUS, Singapore), and Charl!

Here Donglin and Charl are in discussion after Donglin’s impressive talk!