In a recent review article for Nature Communications, Jeff Kenvin from Micromeritics and fellow authors explore the complexities in materials synthesis and various techniques to characterise these materials in regards to distinguishing features and catalytic impact.

The article revealed interesting information concerning the porosity and structure of zeolites and how older characterisation techniques did not provide precise information necessary for individuals looking to modify the molecular structures.

Micromeritics fellow group leader Jeff Kenvin said: "People often use standard methods to characterise the porosity of new or modified materials and these methods are not addressing key textural issues like connectivity of the pore network."

The research required to contribute to a review article provided clarity on the tools available, but also raised questions that are unresolved. One of which was the ability to present a coherent picture of characterisation results instead of looking at each aspect independently.

Dr Kenvin said: "Take zeolites. These materials are molecular sieves with well-defined structures.

"Researchers want to be able to modify these structures so the molecules can move freely.

"Often these modifications have undesirable effects and create difficult to characterise small windows that control entry to a large cavity, like a door to enter a gymnasium.

"We are in the process of unravelling some of these challenges for characterisation in the next six to 12 months."

Using this information, a scientist can effectively define and differentiate new materials, which will result in valuable information to guide research, development and engineering.

Micromeritics Business Development vice-president Dr Jeff Sherman said: "We’re honored to have one of our scientists contribute to this research area and co-author this review article in such a prestigious journal as Nature Communications.

"This type of collaboration with academic and industry leaders has been a hallmark of Micromeritics for more than fifty years.

"It continues to provide us the insight necessary to design and build instrumentation, which researchers require to answer the most important scientific questions of the day."