Impact of chemical structure on the dynamics of mass transfer of water in conjugated microporous polymers: a neutron spectroscopy study

Anne A. Y. Guilbert, Yang Bai, Catherine M. Aitchison, Reiner Sebastian Sprick, Mohamed Zbiri

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Abstract

Hydrogen fuel can contribute as a masterpiece in conceiving a robust carbon-free economic puzzle if cleaner methods to produce hydrogen become technically efficient and economically viable. Organic photocatalytic materials such as conjugated microporous materials (CMPs) are potential attractive candidates for water splitting as their energy levels and optical band gap as well as porosity are tunable through chemical synthesis. The performances of CMPs depend also on the mass transfer of reactants, intermediates, and products. Here, we study the mass transfer of water (H2O and D2O) and of triethylamine, which is used as a hole scavenger for hydrogen evolution, by means of neutron spectroscopy. We find that the stiffness of the nodes of the CMPs is correlated with an increase in trapped water, reflected by motions too slow to be quantified by quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS). Our study highlights that the addition of the polar sulfone group results in additional interactions between water and the CMP, as evidenced by inelastic neutron scattering (INS), leading to changes in the translational diffusion of water, as determined from the QENS measurements. No changes in triethylamine motions could be observed within the CMPs from the present investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-776
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Volume3
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • conjugated microporous polymers
  • neutron spectroscopy
  • photocatalysis
  • water diffusion
  • water splitting

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