School of Physical and Chemical Sciences Te Kura Matū Seminar Series

Combining Teaching, Tramping and Research into Hybrid Glasses


Thomas D. Bennett, Cambridge Visiting Fellow


Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge

Time & Place

Wed, 03 Apr 2019 12:00:00 NZDT in Room 701, West Building

All are welcome


Metal−organic frameworks (MOFs) are highly porous materials, or ‘molecular sponges’,1 formed from linking inorganic nodes by organic ligands. They are capable of application in e.g. clean air technologies, water harvesting in arid locations, catalysis and drug delivery. The research group has however shown that although 70,000 crystalline MOF structures are known, little is actually understood with respect to their physical properties.

Specifically, we have shown that demonstrated that melting solids of composition Zn(Im)2 (Im – C3H3N2),2 yields a liquid of identical composition – which behaves differently to an ionic liquid. Furthermore, such liquids can be quenched to form glasses. These glasses are interesting because they are the first new category of glass discovered since the 1970s, and lie outside of traditional (i) inorganic, (ii) organic and (iii) metallic categories. The research section of this talk will cover the fundamental synthesis and properties of these ‘hybrid’ equivalents of silica glass, future opportunities in the field and industrial interest.

Bennett, Thomas figure_20190403


Figure 1. (a) Schematic of liquid and glass formation from ZIF-4 [Zn(Im)2]. (b) Schematic of blend formation from two zeolitic imidazolate frameworks and electron microscopy images.

A second part of the talk will focus on my efforts to combine teaching and research during my stay at The University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha, and specifically how I have worked with CHEM 400 – 19W to produce a review of the thermal stability of a topical class of compounds.

Finally (and briefly), I will share several photographs of excellent tramps undertaken whilst here, alongside my experiences in learning (and blogging/writing careers articles), about my time here at UC.

[1] T. D. Bennett*, A. K. Cheetham. A. H. Fuchs and F. X. Coudert*, Nat. Chem., 2017, 9, 11-16.

[2] T. D. Bennett* et al, Nat. Commun, 2015, 6, 8079.

[3] R. Gaillac* et al, Nat. Mater, 2017, 16, 1149-1155.

[4] L. Longley et al, Nat. Commun, 2018, 9, 2135.


Read more here.