Visiting Speaker - Dr Neil Robinson (UWA)

Title: Magnetic resonance characterisation of interfacial phenomena in porous materials

schedule Date & time
20 Sep 2023 | 12 - 1pm
person Speaker


Dr Neil Robinson
contact_support Contact
Malin Finell
RSC Admin

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Neil Robinson 20.09.2023

Magnetic resonance characterisation of interfacial phenomena in porous materials


While solid–fluid interactions underpin the efficacy of functional porous materials across a diverse array of chemical reaction and separation processes, detailed characterisation of interfacial phenomena within such systems is often hampered by their optically opaque nature. Motivated by the need to bridge this capability gap, this talk will introduce low-field two-dimensional nuclear spin relaxation measurements as a non-invasive probe of adsorbate identity and interfacial dynamics, taking the relaxation characteristics exhibited by liquid hydrocarbon adsorbates confined to model mesoporous oxides as examples. We will demonstrate the clear capacity of multidimensional relaxation time distributions to distinguish functional group-specific relaxation phenomena across a diverse range of alcohols and carboxylic acids employed as solvents, reagents, and liquid hydrogen carriers, wherein distinct relaxation responses may be assigned to the alkyl and hydroxyl moieties of each confined liquid. Recent advances in utilising these observations to track competitive liquid/liquid displacement processes within such materials will also be discussed; such techniques are anticipated to provide critical information regarding solvent selection in liquid-phase catalytic systems of relevance to green chemical processes.


Dr Neil Robinson is a physical chemist and chemical engineering who holds a Forrest Fellowship within the Fluid Science and Resources Research Group ( at The University of Western Australia. His research lies in the development and characterisation of next-generation materials for energy, environmental and societal applications, with a strong focus on understanding gas and liquid dynamics within functional porous media using magnetic resonance. Neil achieved a First Class MChem Chemistry degree from Cardiff University (Cardiff, UK) in 2014, following which he undertook a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge. His doctoral research was undertaken at Cambridge’s Magnetic Resonance Research Centre and focused on the applications of novel magnetic resonance methods in surface science and heterogeneous catalysis. As a Research Associate at The University of Western Australia (2019 – 2022) Neil then worked with Prof Mike Johns to extend these approaches across diverse fluid-saturated porous systems; his Forrest Fellowship aims to apply these methods to the study and development of porous materials necessary for the efficient and large-scale transportation of hydrogen. He has received multiple national and international awards including the 2022 Australian National Measurement Institute (NMI) Prize, and over $1million in competitive research funding, including a 2023 ARC Discovery Project grant. He was a finalist in both the 2021 and 2022 IChemE Global Awards and represented Australia at the 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.




RSC Seminar Room (3.105), Building 138