Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















TECH SPACE
A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials
by Staff Writers
Lausanne, Switzerland (SPX) May 30, 2017


Topological differences of top-performing materials for methane storage. Topological data analysis reveals the similarity between structures; each node represents a family of similar materials, while a network between two nodes indicates that they share at least one material. The further apart the nodes are, the more dissimilar the materials. The pictures show examples of nanoporous materials at the edges, and represent the topologically most different materials (red = Si, yellow = O, blue area = Pores) Credit Berend Smit/EPFL

Materials classified as "nanoporous" have structures (or "frameworks") with pores up to 100 nm in diameter. These include diverse materials used in different fields from gas separation, catalysis, and even medicine (e.g. activated charcoal). The performance of nanoporous materials depends on both their chemical composition and the shape of their pores, but the latter is very difficult to quantify.

So far, chemists rely on visual inspection to see whether two materials have similar pores. EPFL scientists, in the framework of NCCR-MARVEL, have now developed an innovative mathematical method that allows a computer to quantify similarity of pore structures. The method makes it possible to search databases with hundreds of thousands of nanoporous materials to discover new materials with the right pore structure. The work is published in Nature Communications.

Nanoporous materials comprise a broad category and can differ widely in their chemical makeup. What unites them is the presence of nano-sized pores in their three-dimensional structure, which endows them with catalytic and absorption properties. These pores can range between 0.2-1000 nanometers, and their size and shape (their "geometry") can have a decisive effect on the material's properties. In fact, pore shape is as important a predictor of performance as chemical composition.

Today, computers can generate large databases of potential materials and determine - before having to synthesize them - which materials would perform best for a given application. But their chemistry is so versatile that the number of possible new materials is almost unlimited, while we do not have a method for quantifying and comparing similarity between pore geometries. All this means that finding the best nanoporous material for any given application is challenging.

Math to the rescue
A new method developed in a collaboration of the labs of Berend Smit and Kathryn Hess Bellwald at EPFL uses a technique from applied mathematics called "persistent homology". This technique can quantify the geometric similarity of pore structures by adopting the mathematical tools that are commonly used by Facebook and others to find similar faces in uploaded photos.

The persistent homology method produces "fingerprints", represented by barcodes, that characterize the pore shapes of each material in the database. These fingerprints are then compared to compute how similar the pore shapes of two materials are. This means that this approach can be used to screen databases and identify materials with similar pore structures.

The EPFL scientists show that the new method is effective at identifying materials with similar pore geometries. One class of nanoporous materials that would benefit from this innovation are the zeolites and the metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), whose applications range from gas separation and storage to catalysis.

The scientists used methane storage - an important aspect of renewable energy - as a case study. The new method showed that it is possible to find nanoporous materials that perform as well as known top-performing materials by searching databases for similar pore shapes.

Conversely, the study shows that the pore shapes of the top-performing materials can be sorted into topologically distinct classes, and that materials from each class require a different optimization strategy.

"We have a database of over 3,000,000 nanoporous materials, so finding similar structures through visual inspection is out of the question," says Berend Smit.

"In fact, going through the literature, we found that authors often don't realize when a new MOF has the same pore structure as another one. So we really need a computational method. However, while humans are intuitively good at recognizing shapes as the same or different, we needed to work with the math department at EPFL to develop a formalism that can teach this skill to a computer."

"In the field of algebraic topology, mathematicians have formulated the theory of persistence homology in any dimension," says Kathryn Hess. "Previous applications used only the first two of these dimensions, so it's exciting that chemical engineers at EPFL have discovered a significant application that requires the third dimension as well."

Yongjin Lee, Senja D Barthel, Pawe Dotko, S Mohamad Moosavi, Kathryn Hess, Berend Smit. Quantifying similarity of pore-geometry in nanoporous materials. Nature Communications 23 May 2017. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15396

TECH SPACE
New Zealand company partners with U.S. Army for engineered skin
Washington (UPI) May 24, 2017
New Zealand's startup regenerative medicine company, Upside Biotechnologies, has signed a development agreement with the U.S. Army. The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, with the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command is for Upside's engineered skin product developed for people who have sustained major burns. "This U.S. Army input will be hugely valu ... read more

Related Links
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

TECH SPACE
First Year of BEAM Demo Offers Valuable Data on Expandable Habitats

NASA honors Kennedy's space vision on 100th birthday

Conch shells may inspire better helmets, body armor

MIT researchers engineer shape-shifting food

TECH SPACE
Colossal rocket-launching plane rolls toward testing

SpaceX poised for Thursday cargo launch to space station

Dream Chaser Spacecraft Passes Major Milestone

Dragon Spacecraft Prepared to Resupply International Space Station

TECH SPACE
Halos discovered on Mars widen time frame for potential life

Student-Made Mars Rover Concepts Lift Off

Illinois Company Among Hundreds Supporting NASA Mission to Mars

Preparations Continue Before Driving into 'Perseverance Valley'

TECH SPACE
California Woman Charged for Trying to Hand Over Sensitive Space Tech to China

A cabin on the moon? China hones the lunar lifestyle

China tests 'Lunar Palace' as it eyes moon mission

China to conduct several manned space flights around 2020

TECH SPACE
Propose a course idea for the CU space minor

Leading Global Air And Space Law Group Joins Reed Smith

New Horizons for Alexander Gerst

Government space program spending reaches 62B dollars in 2016

TECH SPACE
A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials

Space junk could destroy satellites, hurt economies

New Zealand company partners with U.S. Army for engineered skin

New method allows real-time monitoring of irradiated materials

TECH SPACE
Viable Spores, DNA Fragments Discovery at ISS Justifies Biosphere's Expansion

Russia thinks microorganisms may be living outside the space station

The race to trace TRAPPIST-1h

Giant Ringed Planet Likely Cause of Mysterious Eclipses

TECH SPACE
A whole new Jupiter with first science results from Juno

First results from Juno show cyclones and massive magnetism

Jupiters complex transient auroras

NASA's Juno probe forces 'rethink' on Jupiter




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement