School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Professor Stuart James

"Mechanochemistry; metal organic frameworks (MOFs); porous liquids"
Professor Stuart James
Chair of Inorganic Chemistry
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5419



Research in the James group concentrates on two topics:

Mechanochemical synthesis

This involves grinding together solid reactants to initiate chemical reactions (Chem. Soc. Rev. 2012, 41, 413). Since it requires little or no solvent it is potentially a more sustainable and cheaper alternative to solution-based synthesis. We are currently pursuing: i. better fundamental understanding of how such chemistry works at microscopic and molecular scales (Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 1585), and ii. innovative techniques to scale up and commercialise this chemistry (see EPSRC funding,  spin out company MOF Technologies) and recent papers Chem. Sci.2015, 6, 1645; Green Chem., 2017, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C6GC03413F).


Porous Liquids

Porosity is normally only associated with solids. However, with careful design it is also possible to prepare liquids with permanent porosity. Porous liquids are an exciting new type of material first proposed by us in 2007 (Chem. Eur. J. 2007, 13, 3020) and which are now being realised (Nature, 216, 527, 2015; PCCP, 2014, 16, 9422). We are currently engaged in preparing and understanding the first examples of these materials and examining their properties such as their ability to dissolve large amounts of gases. Ultimately this type of material could enable solubility to be controlled on the basis of the size and shape of the solute species. As such fundamentally new approaches to solvents and industrial separations processes can be envisioned. 


Recent Publications

Mechanochemical Synthesis

1. Better understanding of mechanochemical reactions: Raman monitoring reveals surprisingly simple ‘pseudo-fluid’ model for a ball milling reaction.
X. Ma, W. Yuan, S.E.J. Bell and S.L. James, Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 1585. View

2. Mechanochemistry: opportunities for new and cleaner synthesis.
S.L. James, C. J. Adams, C. Bolm, D. Braga, P. Collier, T. Frišcic, F. Grepioni, K. D. M. Harris, G. Hyett, W. Jones, A. Krebs, J. Mack, L. Maini, A. G. Orpen, I. P. Parkin, W.C. Shearouse, J. W. Steed and D. C. Waddell
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012, 41, 413-447 (Critical Review). View

3. Efficient, Scalable, and Solvent-free Mechanochemical Synthesis of the OLED Material Alq3 (q = 8-Hydroxyquinolinate).
Xiaohe Ma, Gin Keat Lim, Kenneth D. M. Harris, David C. Apperley, Peter N. Horton, Michael B. Hursthouse and Stuart L. James, Crystal Growth and Design 2012, 12, 5869. View

4. High reactivity of metal-organic frameworks under grinding conditions: Parallels with organic molecular materials.
W. Yuan, T. Friscic, D. Apperley and S.L. James, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 3916. View

5. An array-based study of reactivity under solvent-free mechanochemical conditions-insights and trends.
A. Pichon and S.L. James, CrystEngComm 2008, 10, 1839. View

6. Solvent-free synthesis of a microporous metal-organic framework
A. Pichon, A. Lazuen-Garay and S.L. James, CrystEngComm 2006, 8, 211, ('Hot paper') View. Featured in Chemistry World  -  Movie


Porous liquids

1. Porous Liquids.
N. O'Reilly, N. Giri and S. L. James, Chemistry – A European Journal 2007, 13, 3020-3025. View 
Featured in Chemistry World

2. Alkylated organic cages: From porous crystals to neat liquids.
N. Giri, C.E. Davidson, G. Melaugh, M. G. Del Popoló, J.T.A. Jones, T. Hasell, A.L. Cooper, P.N. Horton, M.B. Hursthouse and S.L. James, Chemical Science 2012, 3, 2153. View



1. A metal complex that imitates a micelle
N. Giri and S.L. James Chemical Communications 2011, 47, 245. View

2. Imitating micelles as a way to control coordination self-assembly: cage-polymer switching directed rationally by solvent polarity or pH.
N. Giri and S.L. James Chemical Communications 2011, 47, 1458 (Hot Paper). View

3. Review: Phosphines as building blocks in coordination based self-assembly.
S.L. James , Chem. Soc. Rev. 2009, 38, 1744. View

Pure Profile