Lab updates in 2021

Congratulations to Anqi, Rui and Chunchun on completing their PhD research! Anqi and Rui have started their postdoc research on the ERC grant on 1/8/2021. 

PhD studentships for 2020-2021 entry

Two PhD studentships are available in the group for 2020-2021 entry. Check out the website for details.

ERC starting grant 3/9/2019

Dr Qilei Song has been awarded the prestigious ERC starting grant from the European Research Council. Project title: Design and NanoEngineering of Microporous Membranes for Energy Storage (NanoMMES, 1.5 Million Euro)This is an important recognition and a timely grant to suppport our research on advanced membrane materials and applications for energy conversion and storage. We are grateful to the support of the department, our collaborators and colleagues. Look forward to exciting research in the next 5 years! We will advertise positions for postdoc researchers and scholarships for PhD students soon. 

Read the news release


New PhD student

New PhD students starting in 2019

Congratulations to Luke Petit from University of Oxford on award of an EPSRC DTP PhD scholarship. Luke will join the group in October 2019 working on redox flow batteries for energy storage. Welcome!

Congratulations to Toby Wong on an award of CDT PhD studentship. Toby is currently an MRes student in Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London. He will join the group in October 2019 working on porous membranes for hydrocarbons separation, funded by BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM). 

Upcoming Talks and Presentations

14th International Conference on Materials Chemistry (MC14), Birmingham, 8 - 11 July 2019

Our group will give oral and poster presentations. 

4th UK Porous Materials Conference, Cardiff, 1st July, 2019

The group will give oral and poster presentations.

Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering, Lunchtime Seminar, 25th June, 2019

RSC Researcher Mobility Grant

Congratulations to PhD student, Anqi Wang on an award of the Royal Society of Chemistry Researcher Mobility Grant. The award will support Anqi to visit Prof. Neil McKeown research group at University of Edinburgh to work on a new collaboration project on synthesis of new PIM polymer membranes.  Big thanks to RSC for the support for early career researchers. 

PhD studentships

Two PhD studentships are available in the group. Check out the website for details.

Upcoming Talks and Presentations

17th Aachen Membrane Colloquium, Aachen, 14-15th November, 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Invited talk on advanced polymer membranes.

7th EuCheMs Chemistry Congress, Liverpool, 26-30 August 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Microporous polymer membranes for molecular separation and energy storage.

UK Redox Flow Battery Network (UK RFBN), 19th July 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Feasibility study of ion-Selective Microporous Polymer Membranes for Organic Redox Flow Batteries


UK Membrane ShowCase 2018, Manchester, 13-14th June, 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Designer Membranes

9-10th April 2018  UK MOF Symposium

Anqi Wang (PhD), Tony Houghton (PhD) and Dr Song  will attend the UK MOF symposium in University of Southampton. Anqi and Tony will present their research in polymer membranes and MOF composites for separation and energy storage applications. 

20-22th March 2018  UK Energy storage Conference

Rui Tan (PhD), Xiaoqun Zhou (Undergraduate) and Dr Song attended the UK Energy Storage Confefence (UKES 2018) and presented research in advanced membranes for redox flow batteries. 

1st Feb 2018 Postdoc position available

The group has been awarded one seed-funding grant funded by Energy Superstore and CAM-IES to develop redox flow batteries for energy storage. We are looking for one postdoc to join our group for 12 months to work on this exciting research project. The project will involve collaborations with partners at University of Cambridge, Imperial College, and University of Edinburgh, as well as partners in the Energy Superstore research hub and CAM-IES research centre.

For informal enquires, please email for further information about this opportunity.

25th Jan, 2018

The group attended the dissemination event of Energy Storage Grand Challenge Projects: Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids and Integrated, Market-fit and Affordable Grid-scale Energy Storage (IMAGES). 

Energy Storage

10 Jan 2018 - Visiting student 

The group welcomes Min Hu from Prof. Tongwen Xu's group at University of Science and Technology of China. Min is visiting the group to develop novel polymer electrolyte membranes for flow batteries and electrochemical processes. Welcome! 


19th September 2017 PhD students

The group welcomes the first cohort of PhD students! From left to right: Rui, Tony and Anqi. Look forward to working together to produce excellent research in the next few years.

PhD students

15th September 2017 MSc students completed

Congratulations to Anqi, Barbara, and Tianhe on finishing their MSc study and research projects in our lab. Anqi will stay in the group for a PhD, Barbara will move to EPFL for PhD research. Thanks for all the support for setting up the lab and I will miss the time working together at 10pm in the lab. Wish you all the best for your future!


10-13 July 2017 MC13 materials chemistry conference

The group attended the 13th International Conference on Materials Chemistry (MC13). Anqi Wang and Dewang Zeng gave poster presentations. The group also visited the Materials Innovation Factory and Cooper Group at University of Liverpool.  


MC13 2

7th July, 2017

Farewell drinks for Rongtan in Hyde Park. Rongtan is leaving us back to Peking University. We wish him all the best!Drinks

3rd July, 2017 Undergraduate researchers

Chemical Engineering undergraduate students joined our group! Left to Right: Haoran Xiong (IC Chem Eng), Hassan Azzan (IC Chem Eng), and Zifeng Song (Tsinghua Chem Eng).


Papers published

5th June, 2017   Two papers published today!

We just had two collaborative papers published online today. One paper on oriented 2D porous organic cage crystals was published in Angewandte Chemie, in collaboration with Prof. Andy Cooper in University of Liverpool. Check out the paper here

Another paper on highly permeable and selective microporous PIM-1/MOF composite membranes was published in Nature Energy, in collaboration with Prof. Easan Sivaniah at Kyoto University (my PhD advisor in Cambridge) and other institutions. 

Check out the news release from the department. 

26th June 2017 UK RFB Network

Dr Song attended the UK Redox Flow Battery Network launch event.

PhD Scholarships

31st May, 2017 Three PhD students starting soon!!!

Congratulations to Rui Tan from Peking University on award of a prestigious full PhD scholarship funded by the China Scholarship Council. Rui will join the group in October 2017 working on redox flow battery and solid state battery, under co-supervison of Dr Qilei Song and Prof. Nigel Brandon.

Congratulations to Anqi Wang on the offer of Department PhD scholarship! Anqi will stay working on synthesis of microporous polymer membranes and energy applications.

Congratulations to Anthony Houghton on the offer of a DTP PhD scholarship! Anthony will work on design and synthesis of functional microporous materials including MOFs.

Undergraduate Students Research Award

20th  April, 2017

Azzan Hassan, 2nd year UG student in the department, was offered the Faculty of Engineering UROP Award for an 8 week UROP summer placement. Zifeng Song, final year UG student in Department of Chemical Engineering at Tsinghua University, was awarded the Faculty of Engineering International  Research Opportunities Programme (IROP) award for 8 week summer research project. Look forward to working with you in July. 

4th  April, 2017

Rongtan Gao joined our group as a visiting student. Rongtan Gao is from the group of Prof. Feng Pan, School of Advanced Materials, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, China.  Rongtan is now visiting our group working on functional materials and redox flow batteries for energy storage applications. Welcome! 

27th-29th March 2017 

Dr Song attended the ChemEngDay UK 2017 conference and gave a talk on Functional Microporous Membranes for Energy and Environmental Applications. He also attended the UK Particle Technology Forum held by the University of Birmingham on behalf of IChemE Particle Technology Special Interest Group (PTSIG), on the 29th March, and gave a Keynote talk titled: Particle Technology: a personal journey towards interdisciplinary materials research. 

March 2017 - PhD studentships for home students

The Department of Chemical Engineering has available 5 fully-funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Scholarships for outstanding PhD applicants qualifying as Home students to start in October 2017.

March 2017

Group photo in March 2017, including co-supervised PhD students, MSc students, and collaborators. We are still looking for motivated and talented PhD students!

Group PhotoFrom left to right: Dr Qilei Song, Anqi Wang, Clemens Patzschke (PhD with Prof. Paul Fennell), Tianhe Zhang, Barbara Primera Darwich, Dewang Zeng (PhD), and Dr Liya Zheng (PDRA with Prof. Fennell). 

March 2017

Our lab in Bone building B326 has been refurbished into a brand new materials chemistry & energy research lab, where we work on materials synthesis and processing, membrane and battery fabrication, and performance testing. The other lab B221 is currently being refurbished as well. 



February 2017

Dr Song was awarded the IChemE Nicklin Medal for his outstanding contribution to developing the next-generation of microporous membrane materials.  Imperial News.  Deepest thanks go to supervisors, mentors, collaborators, colleagues, and the support of a number of labs and departments. 

January, 2017

Dr Song visited several leading universities in China, including the University of Science and Technlogy of China, Southeast University, Tianjin Univbersity, Nankai University, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, and Tsinghua University.


November, 2016

Barbara, Anqi, and Tianhe joined the group to work on their MSc research projects. Welcome!

Launch of the Barrer Centre, 10th October 2016

The Barrer Centre at Imperial was launched on the 10th October 2016, which aims to develop breakthrough materials for separation technologies for applications in more energy-efficient and environemntal-friendly separation processes in industry. Our group is a part of the Centre. 

BarrerlaunchWe were very pleased to have a range of attendees in our launch event, including  high-profile policy-makers, world-leading acadamics, industrialists and experts in global separations.  A keynote inaugural Barrer Lecture on “The Development of the Membrane Separation Industry” was delivered by Richard Baker, Founder and Principal Scientist at Membrane Technology and Research Inc, USA and Chair of the Barrer Centre. 

September 2016

Congratulations to Xiaoqi, Qiao, and Nan for successfully completing their MSc projects. Well done!!











August 2016

Dr Song started his new job as a Lecturer in Chemical Engineering in the Department. A new journey, very different challenges! 

June 2016

Nanofilm membranes reported in news by Materials Research Society (MRS). 

Nanofilm-based membranes boost molecular separations in organic systems

Image below shows the structure of porous polymer. Credit: Kim E. Jelfs, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London

Structure of Polymer













10th May, 2016

Glovebox workstation installed! Time to start making batteries and research on energy conversion and storage. 











2nd May 2016

Our latest paper published in Nature Materials, reporting a novel molecular design approach to synthesis of ultrathin and microporous polymer membranes, using sterically contorted monomers, to achieve enhanced performance for solvent-based separations.

Maria Jimenez-Solomon+Qilei Song+, Kim Jelfs, Marta Munoz-Ibanez, Andrew Livingston*. Polymer nanofilms with enhanced microporosity by interfacial polymerisationNature Materials. 2016. Doi:10.1038/nmat4638. (+Contributed equally).

Researchers develop "designer" chemical separation membranes

December 2015

Our paper accepted in Advanced Materials.

Q. Song, S. Jiang, T. Hasell, M. Liu, S. Sun, A.K. Cheetham, E. Sivaniah, A.I. Cooper. Porous Organic Cage Thin Films and Molecular-Sieving Membranes.Advanced Materials. 2016, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201505688. Back Cover (Image credit: Adam Kewley). 















November 2015

Paper accepted in Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Qilei Song, Shuai Cao, Robyn Pritchard, Hazim Qiblawey, Eugene Terentjev,   Anthony K. Cheetham and Easan Sivaniah.  Nanofiller-tuned microporous polymer molecular sieves for energy and environmental processesJournal of Materials Chemistry A. 2016. DOI: 10.1039/C5TA09060A


October 2015

 Dr Song gave a seminar on Functional Nanomaterials for Energy and Sustainability at the Energy Futures Lab on Friday 30th. Link

The group welcomes new members!

Arthie Nimalan and Ayshah Sawjani are final year undergraduate students working together on porous membranes for molecular separations, co-supervised by Prof. Livingston.

MSc students:

Qiao Zhang will be working on Polymer Membranes of Intrinsic Microporosity for Molecular Separations, co-supervised by Prof. Livingston.

Xiaoqi Li will be working on synthesis and electrochemical characterisation of functional nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage.

Nan Ding will be working on synthesis and applications of layered double hydroxides and derived nanostructured metal oxides, co-supervised by Dr Fennell.

September 2015

23rd September. Dr. Song gave a short talk at the department postdoc symposium

15th September. Congratulations to Horace KH Chien on successfully completing his MSc project. Horace did some nice work on synthesis of LDHs and mixed metal oxides for applications in chemical looping processes. 

August 2015

Dr Song was awarded a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Travel Grant for attending the 250th ACS National Meeting, held on 16-20 August 2015 in Boston, MA, USA. He gave two invited talks, one on 'Advanced Molecular Sieve Membranes' in the session of Porous Materials for Energy & Sustainability from Discovery to Application, and another on 'Nanostructured metal oxides for chemical looping processes' in the session of Chemical looping Innovation for Low-Carbon Energy

July 2015

Dr Song attended the 12th International Conference on Materials Chemistry (MC12) organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), held on 20-23 July 2015, University of York, UK.

April 2015

8-9th April 2015. Dr. Song attended the ChemEngDayUK conference in Sheffield, organised by the IChemE. 

November 2014

Dr Song started his JRF fellowship from the 1st November 2014. A new start of his independent research career. He is also an academic visitor to the Cavendish Laboratory, and a visiting scholar at the Southeast University (China).