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LIVERPOOL, 25-Nov-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — The University’s Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) has announced a number of new appointments who will deliver its academic programme. The £68 million facility, due to open in 2017, will revolutionise materials chemistry research and development by drawing together world-leading, multi-disciplinary research expertise, unparalleled technical facilities and a dynamic support infrastructure. Professor Ronan McGrath, Head of the School of Physical Sciences, said: “We are delighted to welcome these new staff to the University. This recruitment process has been very successful and we focused on recruiting researchers with complementary skill sets. “These new appointments will add to our already very strong academic base in the area of Advanced Materials and will help to take the Materials Innovation Factory forward in new and exciting directions.” Professor Alessandro Troisi has been appointed as a Chair and he will take up his post in April 2017. Professor Troisi specialises in the development and application of computational chemistry methods to the electronic and structure properties of materials and joins from the University of Warwick. He will to develop a new research project which will combine experimental and modelling data, rather than simply compare it, in order to achieve the maximum information from the experiment. In addition to Professor Troisi’s Chair, a number of new lectureships have also been recruited. Dr Vitaliy Kurlin joins as MIF Computer Science Senior Lecturer from Microsoft Research Cambridge where he is a data scientist working on computational methods for real-life problems, for example, designing fast algorithms for classifying geometric structures such as molecular graphs. His research will focus on finding new materials such as zeolites with stable and large pores or voids that could hold CO . Dr Colin Crick has been appointed MIF Chemistry lecturer and he joins from Imperial College London. His areas of research areas are oil capture, functional composites and high surface area materials. Dr Matthew Dyer is appointed as a MIF lecturer joining the team from the University’s Department of Chemistry.  His research centres on the application of theory and computation to materials chemistry, both in the bulk and at interfaces. Dr Samantha Chong also joins from the Department of Chemistry. Her research background is in powder diffraction method development and its application in materials discovery and her research plan focuses on Integration of Powder X-Ray Diffraction Methods into High-Throughput Materials Discovery Workflows Dr Liam O’Brien will be joining the team as MIF Physics Senior lecturer in February 2017 from the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. His research focus includes magnetic thin film growth, characterisation and magneto-transport, non-local spin transport and highly spin-polarised materials, nanostructured magnetic materials and data storage devices and magnetic heterostructures and interface magnetism, including polarised neutron reflectometry. Dr Esther Garcia Tunon Blanca will take up her post as MIF Engineering/Materials Science lecturer in February 2017. She is currently with the Department of Materials, Imperial College London, and her research will focus on materials wet processing. Dr Lucy Clark will join the team from the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews. She will take up her new role in April 2017 and her focus will be the discovery and development of novel quantum materials. Dr Anna Slater who will take up the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship shortly will become a MIF Chemistry lecturer in December 2021 (after her fellowship). Dr Slater’s research background is organic synthesis, specifically of molecules capable of supramolecular interactions.


News Article | September 13, 2016
Site: phys.org

In a paper published in Nature Communications, they demonstrate how they synthesised nanometre-sized cage molecules that can be used to transport charge in proton exchange membrane (PEM) applications. Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are considered to be a promising technology for clean and efficient power generation in the twenty-first century. PEMFCs contain proton exchange membrane (PEM), which carries positively-charged protons from the positive electrode of the cell to the negative one. Most PEMs are hydrated and the charge is transferred through networks of water inside the membrane. To design better PEM materials, more needs to be known about how the structure of the membrane enables protons to move easily through it. However, many PEMs are made of amorphous polymers, so it is difficult to study how protons are conducted because the precise structure is not known. Scientists from the University's Department of Chemistry synthesised molecules that enclose an internal cavity, forming a porous organic cage into which other smaller molecules can be loaded, such as water or carbon dioxide. When the cages form solid materials, they can arrange to form channels in which the small 'guest' molecules can travel from one cage to another. The material forms crystals in which the arrangement of cages is very regular. This allowed the researchers to build an unambiguous description of the structure using crystallography, a technique that allows the positions of atoms to be located. The molecules are also soluble in common solvents, which means they could be combined with other materials and fabricated into membranes. They measured the protonic conductivity of these porous organic cages after loading the channels with water, to assess their viability as PEM materials. The cages exhibited proton conductivities of up to 10-3 S cm1, which is comparable to some of the best porous framework materials in the literature. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Center for Neutron Research at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), they used a combination of experimental measurements and computer simulations to build a rich picture of how protons are conducted by the cage molecules. Two distinctive features of the proton conduction in organic cage crystals were highlighted as design principles for future PEM materials. First, the cages are arranged so that the channels extend in three dimensions. This means that the movement of the protons is not limited to a particular direction, as in the case of many porous materials tested so far. Second, the cages direct the movement of the water molecules, which means that protons can be passed between them quickly. Also, the cages are flexible enough to allow the water to reorganize, which is also important when protons are transported from one water molecule to the next over longer distances. Dr Ming Liu who led the experimental work, said: "In addition to introducing a new class of proton conductors, this study highlights design principles that might be extended to future materials. "For example, the 'soft confinement' that we observe in these hydrated solids suggests new anhydrous proton conductors where a porous cage host positions and modulates the protonic conductivity of guest molecules other than water. This would facilitate the development of high temperature PEMFCs, as water loss would no longer be a consideration." Liverpool Chemist, Dr Sam Chong, added: "The work also gives fundamental insight into proton diffusion, which is widely important in biology." Dr Chong has recently been appointed as a lecturer in the University's Materials Innovation Factory (MIF). Due to open in 2017, the £68M MIF is set to revolutionise materials chemistry research and development through facilitating the discovery of new materials which have the potential to save energy and natural resources, improve health or transform a variety of manufacturing processes. The paper 'Three-dimensional Protonic Conductivity in Porous Organic Cage Solids' is published in Nature Communications. Explore further: New technique developed to separate complex molecular mixtures More information: Ming Liu et al, Three-dimensional protonic conductivity in porous organic cage solids, Nature Communications (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12750


News Article | September 19, 2016
Site: www.materialstoday.com

Scientists at the University of Liverpool in the UK have made an important breakthrough that could lead to the design of better fuel cell materials. In a paper published in Nature Communications, they describe their synthesis of nanometer-sized cage molecules that can be used to transport charge in proton exchange membranes. Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are considered to be a promising technology for clean and efficient power generation in the 21st century. PEMFCs contain a component called a proton exchange membrane (PEM), which carries positively-charged protons from the positive electrode of the cell to the negative one, while electrons travel round an external circuit to generate a current. Most PEMs are hydrated and the protons are transferred through networks of water inside the membrane. To design better PEM materials, more needs to be known about how the structure of the membrane allows protons to move easily through it. However, many PEMs consist of amorphous polymers that don’t have a regular structure, making it difficult to study how protons are conducted through them. As an alternative approach, scientists from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Chemistry synthesized molecules that enclose an internal cavity, forming a porous organic cage into which other smaller molecules can be loaded, such as water or carbon dioxide. When these cages come together, they form channels in which the small ‘guest’ molecules can travel from one cage to another. The end result is a crystalline material in which the arrangement of the cages is very regular. This allowed the researchers to build an unambiguous description of the structure using crystallography, a technique that allows the positions of atoms to be located. The molecules are also soluble in common solvents, which means they could be combined with other materials and fabricated into membranes. The scientists measured the protonic conductivity of these porous organic cages after loading the channels with water, to assess their viability as PEM materials. The cages exhibited proton conductivities of up to 10-3S/cm, comparable to some of the best porous framework materials in the literature. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in the UK and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), they used a combination of experimental measurements and computer simulations to build a rich picture of how protons are conducted by the cage molecules. Two distinctive features of proton conduction in these organic cage crystals were highlighted as design principles for future PEM materials. First, the cages are arranged so that the channels extend in three dimensions. This means that the movement of the protons is not limited to a particular direction, as is the case with many porous materials tested so far. Second, the cages direct the movement of the water molecules, which means that protons can be passed between them quickly. Also, the cages are flexible enough to allow the water to reorganize, which is important when protons are transported from one water molecule to the next over longer distances. “In addition to introducing a new class of proton conductors, this study highlights design principles that might be extended to future materials,” said Ming Liu from the University of Liverpool, who led the experimental work. “For example, the ‘soft confinement’ that we observe in these hydrated solids suggests new anhydrous proton conductors where a porous cage host positions and modulates the protonic conductivity of guest molecules other than water. This would facilitate the development of high temperature PEMFCs, as water loss would no longer be a consideration.” “The work also gives fundamental insight into proton diffusion, which is widely important in biology,” added Sam Chong, also from the University of Liverpool. Chong has recently been appointed as a lecturer in the university’s Materials Innovation Factory (MIF). Due to open in 2017, the £68M facility will revolutionize materials chemistry research and development through facilitating the discovery of new materials that have the potential to save energy and natural resources, improve health or transform a variety of manufacturing processes. This story is adapted from material from the University of Liverpool, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


LIVERPOOL, 24-Nov-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a blueprint for controlling the packing of porous molecules into pre-designed structures, such as 1-D nanotubes and 3-D networks. Such control over the solid state structure of materials has a profound effect on their properties, and could open up possibilities for better superconductors, optoelectronic materials, or organic photocatalysts. The study, underpinned by calculations that rationalize the structures formed, is published in Nature Chemistry. The porous molecules used in the study are examples of ‘porous organic cages’ (POCs). POCs have an internal cavity into which other smaller molecules can be loaded, such as water or carbon dioxide. When the cages form solid materials, they can arrange to form channels in which the small ‘guest’ molecules can travel from one cage to another. The cage molecules are also soluble in common solvents, meaning they are easy to process, unlike most other porous materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). However, until this study, it has been much harder to control the arrangements of POCs than the solid state structure of MOFs. Liverpool Chemist and lead author of the study, Dr Anna Slater, said: “To control crystallisation, you need strong, directional interactions, and building blocks that are the right shape. We designed a new family of POCs to fit this brief, with the intention of forming nanotube structures.” Most of the POCs made to date at Liverpool are tetrahedral in shape, and can be thought of as 4-way linker ‘building blocks’. In this study, linear, 2-way linker POCs were made; these are capable of linking together using chiral recognition to form 1-D structures, or linking with 4-way linker cages to form more diverse solid-state structures. One of these structures is one of the most porous molecular solids known (BET surface area = 2071 m2 g-1). This ‘mix and match’ cage pairing strategy parallels the development of isorecticular MOFs, where organic linkers are paired with metallic secondary building units to create designable, regular structures. Dr Slater added: “With more building-blocks becoming available, high-throughput screening methods using this strategy are likely to yield a rich diversity of new materials with useful functions”. This research also involved the University of Southampton and Imperial College London. It was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the European Research Council. Dr Slater will start a Royal Society-EPSRC Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in December exploring the use of flow chemistry to discover, optimise, and scale up new materials. She has also recently been appointed as a proleptic lecturer in the University’s Materials Innovation Factory (MIF). Due to open in 2017, the £68M facility will revolutionise materials chemistry research and development through facilitating the discovery of new materials which have the potential to save energy and natural resources, improve health or transform a variety of manufacturing processes.


Patent
Marotto, Innovation Factory and Ghedin | Date: 2014-03-12

A method to make a negative cast (10) of a stump (13) using deformable disposable material, usable for the production of articular prostheses, comprises a step of compressing the deformable disposable material that makes the negative cast (10) during its molding and solidification in conditions where the anatomy of the stump (13) is reproduced in negative.


Patent
Marotto, Innovation Factory and Ghedin | Date: 2015-04-08

Adjustment device for sports footwear (60) configured to adjust the position of a movement member (62) such as a ski, a skate, a group of wheels, a blade, with respect to said sports footwear (60). The adjustment device comprises a first support member (11), associable to the sports footwear (60), a second support member (12), associable to the movement member (62), and positioning members (13) configured to allow the reciprocal positioning of the first support member (11) and the second support member (12) by means of their rotation around a common axis of rotation (Z),


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Data science consultancy Tessella today announced that it had been selected by the University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) to support critical scientific data systems. The £68million Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) - which will host the largest concentration of lab robotics for materials science in one research facility – will open in 2017 and aims to become a world leader in Computer Aided Material Science (CAMS) by 2020. The facility will enable academics and industry alike to further their research efforts, in a space that brings together a unique combination of a secure place to work, the finest equipment and the opportunity for collaboration. The Materials Innovation Factory is a unique public/private partnership between the University and Unilever supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and will contain some of the most advanced tools available for materials research today which will be available to industry as well as available to academics from all universities. Tessella will provide support to the critical scientific data management system. The system enables those who are using the facility to record traceable and robust data that can be used when needed. It also helps to improve existing modelling in order to help create new materials, and consequently speed up the research process. It is designed in such a way that newer developments can also be incorporated to collect information from multiple sources of data that are generated by academics, opening up even more research possibilities in the future. Dr Simon Longden Managing Director of the Materials Innovation Facility explains the significance, “The Materials Innovation Factory was developed to enable a different way of research that caters to the evolving needs of both industry and academia. The flexibility of the service means that anyone can come in and create their own personalised intellectual environment. “There is an open access site where people can work in collaboration or independently in a shared environment, however our ‘research hotel’ is also available for companies looking to collocate on site, so they can bring their private labs to work in these, but still work in the open access site if they want. Tessella’s input helps us to develop our systems to ensure that research data is kept safe. This has acted as a backbone to the service we will be launching, and they’re a great partner to have on board.” Professor Andy Cooper, Academic Director of the Materials Innovation Facility adds, “With the launch of the site we hope to facilitate a new culture in the materials science community. We initially developed the Liverpool model, and over time we’ve aimed to build on our successes to help the community more and more, for example previously opening our Centre of Materials Discovery. We’ve aimed to continue adapting to new trends and considerations, and through the MIF we’re aiming to continue driving research and innovation. The MIF will provide world-leading, multi-disciplinary research expertise, unparalleled facilities and dynamic support infrastructure that will revolutionise research and development in the UK.” Dr Keith Norman, Consumer Industries Sector Director at Tessella said, “It’s an exciting time for materials research, and the Materials Innovation Factory will certainly play a key part in the next steps for innovation in the UK. At Tessella we constantly strive to help drive innovation, drawing from the unrivalled mixture of expertise we have at our disposal in our team. Working with University of Liverpool to help them to bring their vision of the Materials Innovation Factory to life has been a proud moment for us and we’re looking forward to continue supporting the facility for years to come.”


Patent
Innovation Factory and Fondazione Carlo E Dirce Callerio Onlus | Date: 2010-09-02

The present invention relates to a method for the production of micro-particles of polysaccharides. The method includes preparing a feeding solution and a gelifying liquid to collect nebulized jets of the feeding solution. The feeding solution contains at least one polymer capable of forming micro-particle structures and at least one biologically active substance. The feeding solution is pressurized inside an air-less nebulizing unit and then nebulized through the unit itself so as to generate nebulized jets impacting the surface of the gelifying liquid.


A steering means for vehicles suitable for use by disabled persons comprises an attachment device for receiving an upper limb of a person who does not have the ability to grasp the steering means. The attachment device comprises a hollow body in which are provided a seat to receive an extremity of the upper limb, a front opening, having an open outline, through which the limb projects when the extremity is received in the seat, a side opening, joined to the front opening, extending along the hollow body to allow the extremity of the limb to be inserted into or removed from the hollow body, respectively, as well as opposing abutment regions shaped and spaced so as to abut the extremity of the limb when the latter is subjected to a torsion movement.


The present invention relates to a heating device with irreversible thermodynamic cycle. The device comprises a low temperature circuit and a high temperature circuit in which respectively a first and a second operating fluid circulate. Each circuit comprises evaporating, compression, condensation and expansion means of the respective operating fluid. The low temperature circuit absorbs thermal energy from a supply water flow for evaporating the first operating fluid. The thermal energy deriving from the condensation of the first operating fluid is used for evaporating the second fluid. Instead, the thermal energy deriving from the condensation of the second fluid is used for heating a delivery water flow. According to the invention, the two operating circuits each comprise cooling means interposed between the corresponding condensation and expansion means. Such cooling means are in thermal contact with independent partial flows of the supply water flow so as to heat the latter overall by means of thermal energy removed from the operating fluids circulating in the two circuits.

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