• Shiyu Xu

Student thesis: Phd


Thin nanoporous films are attractive for many potential uses for example gas separation, catalysis, filtration of viruses, ore flotation, or as low-dielectric-constant materials. Zeolite and mesoporous materials are the two important nanoporous material classes. In this thesis, we synthesized and characterized two different thin nanoporous films; (i) mesostructured films at the mica-solution interface; (ii) mechanical exfoliated zeolites. The mesoporous materials are well-defined pore shoe and size, and exhibit various morphologies, such as thin films, etc. In contrast, zeolites are a kind of perfect crystal and the morphologies are strongly related to their structures and are difficult to control. Therefore, first we synthesis mesostructured films at mica-solution interface in acidic solution. In-situ Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) has been used to reveal the formation process of organic and inorganic mesophase films at the molecular level. Then, we synthesized two-dimensional zeolite structures via mechanical exfoliation process that does not involve any chemical intervention and can be applicable to a wide variety of structures with different chemical makeup. Three different zeolite structure nanosheets related to the structure code MWW, UTL, and MFI have been prepared. AFM and TEM have been used to characterized the exfoliated single nanosheet. In order to broaden the application of the single zeolite nanosheet, platinum nano-clusters are encapsulated within mechanical exfoliated zeolite MFI nanosheets by ion exchange from aqueous solution of [Pt(NH3)4](NO3)2. High-angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy has been used to indicate the Pt clusters in the zeolite MFI structures. Because of the property of the mechanically as-synthesised exfoliated MFI nanosheets that is the long hydrocarbon chains are essentially intact on both sides of the inorganic layer, and can prevent thickening of the zeolite MFI nanosheets along b-axis, we use the mechanically exfoliated MFI as seeds for further growth to form large scale MFI membrane with uniform nano-thickness. Encapsulating noble metals within the channels or cavities of zeolites has already drawn numerous attentions because the well-defined zeolite structure is able to constrain the metal nanoparticle (NPs) aggregation size and enhance the diversity and activity for catalysis. We use the organic surfactant (C22-6-6Br2) and [Pt(NH3)4](NO3)2 as the structure and metal precursor to form Pt-containing nanowires; and use F- to inhibit the premature precipitation of Pt precursors. After involving F-, the Pt-containing nanowire structures were generated.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMichael Anderson (Supervisor) & Martin Attfield (Supervisor)


  • mesoporous film
  • mechanical exfoliation
  • zeolite nanosheets
  • platinum nano-clusters

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