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Porous Liquids; Mechanochemistry; Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) Professor Stuart James
Chair of Inorganic Chemistry
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5419



Research in the James group concentrates on two topics:

Mechanochemical synthesis

Solvents are normally assumed to be essential in chemical synthesis and are consequently used ubiquitously on very large scales. However, solvents are expensive, toxic, hazardous and require large amounts of energy to produce, purify and recycle. Mechanochemistry, in which chemical synthesis is done by grinding together solid reagents, can provide a solution to these problems. Although still surprising to many chemists, in recent years it has been demonstrated that many chemical reactions can be performed effectively by grinding together solid reagents with little or no solvent (Chem. Soc. Rev. 2012, 41, 413). We are currently pursuing: i. better fundamental understanding of how mechanochemistry works at microscopic and molecular scales (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, DOI10.1002/anie.201706723; ChemCommun. 2014, 50, 1585), and ii. techniques such as twin screw extrusion to scale up and commercialise this chemistry (see EPSRC funding,  spin out company MOF Technologies, and recent papers Chem. Sci.2015, 6, 1645Green Chem., 2017, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C6GC03413F).


Porous Liquids

Porosity has conventionally only been associated with solids. However, with careful design we have managed to prepare the first liquids with permanent porosity (Nature, 216, 527, 2015; PCCP, 2014, 16, 9422). Porous liquids (PLs) are an exciting new type of material first proposed by us in 2007 (Chem. Eur. J. 2007, 13, 3020). We are currently working to gain detailed understanding these materials and are investigating their potentially useful properties such as their ability to dissolve large amounts of gases (see EPSRC funding). We are also working on commercial applications for PLs, since they can provide a fundamentally new approach industrial separations processes for example (funded by Invest Northern Ireland).  

We have recently founded a spin out company, Porous Liquid Technologies Ltd. to bring this exciting new technology to market.

Porous Liquid Tech logo

Recent Publications

Porous liquids

1. Liquids with permanent porosity.
N. Giri , M. G. Del Pópolo, G. Melaugh, R. L. Greenaway, K. Rätzke, T. Koschine, L. Pison, M. F. Costa Gomes, A. I. Cooper and S. L. James Nature. 2015, 527, 216 View.
2. The dam bursts for porous liquids.
S. L. James, Advanced Materials 2016, 28, 5712 View.

3. 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.
4. Porous Liquids.
N. O'Reilly, N. Giri and S. L. James, Chemistry – A European Journal 2007, 13, 3020-3025. View



1. Feedback kinetics in mechanochemistry; the importance of cohesive states.
B. P. Hutchings, D.E. Crawford, L. Gao, P. Hu and S.L. James Angew Chem. Int. Ed. 2017 View.
2. Synthesis by extrusion: continuous, large-scale preparation of MOFs using little or no solvent.
D. Crawford, J. Casaban, R. Haydon, N. Giri, T. McNally and S.L. James Chem. Sci. 2015, 6, 1645 View.
3. 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.


Pure Profile