Dr. Mietek Jaroniec: "Surface Phenomena, Adsorption, Chromatographic Separations, Chemistry of Conventional & Ordered Nanoporous Materials"

Research interests and activities of Professor Jaroniec and his group revolve primarily around interdisciplinary topics of interfacial chemistry, chemical separations and chemistry of materials with a special emphasis placed on physical adsorption at the gas/solid and liquid/solid interfaces, gas and liquid chromatography as well as synthesis, modification and characterization of conventional and ordered nanoporous materials. His research covers such diverse topics as: (a) classical and statistical thermodynamics of adsorption processes at the gas/solid and liquid/solid interfaces, (b) computer modeling of adsorption and chromatographic processes occurring on energetically heterogeneous surfaces of nanoporous solids, (c) prediction of adsorption equilibria for multicomponent gas and liquid mixtures including aqueous dilute solutions, (d) theory of gas and liquid chromatography, (e) elaboration of advanced numerical methods for analyzing the surface heterogeneity, nanoporosity and fractal nature of adsorbents, catalysts and other materials, (f) characterization of carbon blacks, active carbons, active carbon fibers, polymeric sorbents, zeolities, silica, alumina, titania, zirconia and other nanoporous materials including chemically modified solids and recently discovered ordered mesoporous materials, and (g) modification of solid particles by thermal treatment, impregnation, coating and chemical bonding including the synthesis of silica-based chemically bonded phases for high performance liquid chromatography. Although in his laboratory the main emphasis is placed on the use of adsorption, thermogravimetry, differential scanning calorimetry, elemental analysis, gas and liquid chromatography techniques for studying nanoporous materials, other methods of the surface and structural analysis (e.g., solid-state NMR, infrared spectroscopy) are also explored in order to enrich information about surface and structural properties of these materials.

The current research of Dr. Jaroniec and his group includes the synthesis, modification, characterization and applications of novel ordered mesoporous materials (OMM) and chromatographic porous silicas, e.g., surfactant- and polymer-templated ordered silicas and organosilicas, ordered mesoporous carbons and colloid-imprinted materials. The area of ordered materials has been growing remarkably since 1992, when the first hexagonally ordered mesoporous material, MCM-41, synthesized via self-assembly of silica and surfactant species, was reported. The pore size of OMM can be tailored over the entire range of mesopores by adjusting the size and chemical nature of the template (surfactants, block copolymers, colloids), adding molecular expanders and performing the post-synthesis hydrothermal restructuring. In addition, incorporation of different inorganic and/or organic species via one-pot synthesis and/or post-synthesis modification can be employed to alter the surface properties of OMM. The aforementioned framework and surface modifications can be used to develop novel functionalized mesoporous materials of tailored pore sizes and surface properties for advanced applications in adsorption, catalysis, environmental clean-up and nanotechnology.

Selected Publications
  1. Mercuri, L. P. et al. Ordered mesoporous silica SBA-15: A new effective adjuvant to induce antibody response. Small 2, 254-256 (2006).
  2. Mercuri, L. P., Matos, J. R., Li, Z. J. & Jaroniec, M. Comparative thermogravimetric and adsorption study of highly ordered mesoporous materials. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 296, 377-380 (2006).