Research Topic

3D Structure and Chemistry of Micro- and Nano-porous Materials

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Porous materials have been a significant and growing field of interest over the last two decades, on account of the wide range of their potential applications. One of their most prominent characteristics is the large surface area per volume, which many studies have shown plays a fundamental role across ...

Porous materials have been a significant and growing field of interest over the last two decades, on account of the wide range of their potential applications. One of their most prominent characteristics is the large surface area per volume, which many studies have shown plays a fundamental role across several fields and applications such as sensors, catalysis, biosensors and drug delivery systems, lithium batteries, energy conversion and storage. Meso- and nano-porous materials, in particular, can attain very large surface-area-to-volume ratios, reaching values above 2000 m2/cm3.

One of the major challenges in investigating these materials is obtaining precise information on their 3D structure and chemistry, since very few techniques are able to give 3D information of these features that is both spatially-resolved at the nanoscale and reliable. This is particularly true for hybrid porous materials, where the investigation of the interface properties, the pore-filling efficacy and the local homogeneity of new properties arising from the combination of two materials is a hard task at the nanoscale. These characterizations are even more complex in the case of organic-inorganic hybrids, where the large differences in the chemical and physical properties of the two components pose a further challenge.

Detailed understanding of 3D structure and chemistry of hybrid micro- and nano-porous materials is, however, an unavoidable need for their in-depth understanding, development and optimization in view of the wide multiplicity of their possible applications. Given the complex interconnection and interplay among factors leading to the final properties of the mesoscopic porous structures, the synergistic effort among scientists coming from different research fields and the use of complementary techniques is usually a necessary step towards a good understanding of both features, related properties and applications of these structures.

This Research Topic focuses on the description of micro- and nano-porous materials in terms of their 3D properties, in particular, but not necessarily limited to, a structural and chemical point of view. Reports using combinations of diverse complementary characterization techniques are also welcomed. Contributions on hybrid structures are particularly appreciated as they represent the forefront of research in this field. A non-exhaustive list of potential topics is as follows:

- 3D tomography of hybrid micro-, meso- and nano-porous materials (Electron, Atom Probe, Focused Ion Beam, …)
- Structural characterization of mesoporous structures, in particular hybrid structures, fabricated using novel fabrication tools and methods
- Scanning probe microscopy combined with 3D characterization tools
- Secondary Ion-Mass Spectroscopy and related techniques
- Modelling of structures, materials properties, fabrication methods
- Micro- and nano-scale characterization tools as spatially resolved optical spectroscopy
- Combined techniques (e.g. alternate tomography, FIB/SIMS, AFM/SIMS, XRD and tomography, etc)


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