Microimaging reveals new insights in multicomponent adsorption in porous materials

26 March 2014

Rajamani Krishna, professor at the Computational Chemistry group of HIMS, contributed to research on microimaging techniques revealing the interactions of guest molecules with nanoporous materials. The striking results on multicomponent adsorption were published in Nature Materials last week.

Recently introduced techniques for microimaging by interference and infrared microscopy provide a wealth of information on diffusion, hitherto inaccessible from commonly used techniques.

The research now published in Nature Materials has provided new types of insight regarding the conditions of multicomponent adsorp­tion. Commonly, adsorption and diffusion do not proceed hand-in-hand and stronger adsorption implies lower mobility. The present study reveals an uncommon synergy between adsorption and diffusion in multicomponent systems, result­ing in a reversal in the preferred diffusion pathways. The phe­nomena revealed in the research can potentially be exploited in mass separation.

Great benefits

The research underpins the great benefits of microimaging in materials science and technology. In addition to obtaining data on mass transfer with unprecedented reliability and accuracy, it has become clear that microimaging also enhances the possibilities for explora­tion of so far hidden transport phenomena, with the option of their exploitation in new technologies.

Rajamani Krishna contributed to the primarily German research project with his expertise in the field of molecular dynamics simulations. The cooperation was established via the International Research Training Group ‘Diffusion in Porous Materials’, supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).


Jörg Kärger, Tomas Binder, Christian Chmelik, Florian Hibbe, Harald Krautscheid, Rajamani Krishna and Jens Weitkamp Microimaging of transient guest profiles to monitor mass transfer in nanoporous materials Nature Materials 13, 333–343 (2014) doi:10.1038/nmat3917

Published by  HIMS