Our researchers explore and develop novel materials, membranes and adsorbents and engineer innovative separation processes for applications in a range of industry sectors. The research is led by academics who make up the Centre's Leadership Team. They are all based in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Barrer research

Research groups

Ladewig Group

Fundamental design of composite membranes, with a particular focus on model structures that allow for elucidating the transport mechanisms, in conjunction with detailed gas transport simulation studies using advanced computational techniques (with collaborators outside the Barrer Centre). Exploitation of novel metal organic framework materials, especially those with switchable gas sorption or transport properties, to produce responsive mixed matrix membranes that have smart gating properties. Adsorbents and membranes for separation of enantiomeric mixtures, targeted at the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Ladewig group website

Li Group

Fabrication of inorganic and polymeric membranes, especially in hollow fibre geometry, with hierarchical pore structures and multi-functionality. Emphasis is placed on delineation of relationships between membrane interface, morphology and transport, and its performance in fluid separation and chemical reaction. Research includes carbon dioxide recovery from combustion processes using ceramic membranes; development of a novel membrane-UV reactor, capable of reducing the dissolved oxygen in water to a few parts per billion for semiconductor industries.

Livingston Group

Focus on liquid separations, specialising  in molecular separations and in processing in organic systems. We seek discoveries in the molecular engineering of ultrathin films and in super-stable materials, and use these to create membranes and membrane modules with outstanding selectivity, durability and permeance. These membranes are at the core of application platforms in organic processing and in (bio)polymer synthesis, which we engineer together with our partners in the oil and gas, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors. Livingston group website

Petit Group

Focusing on the rational design, characterisation and testing of multifunctional porous materials as a platform for addressing environmental, water and energy sustainability. Areas of interests include carbon management, water purification/reuse and industrial gases separations. Building materials that can perform multiple functions as a way to integrate several processes – e.g. CO2 adsorption and conversion or water purification and H2 production. The materials of choice are 3D porous materials such as metal-organic frameworks and carbonaceous/non-carbonaceous adsorbents (e.g. boron nitride). Petit group website

Song Group

Functional nanoporous materials for energy and environmental applications. Activities include design, synthesis and characterisations of novel microporous materials, such as polymers of intrinsic microporosity, metal-organic frameworks, and nanostructured carbon materials. Materials are fabricated into membranes for gas and liquid separations, electrode materials and ion-selective membranes in rechargeable batteries for energy conversion and storage. Extensive physical and chemical characterisation of materials are performed  providing a fundamental understanding of structures and their structure-property-function relationships. Song group website