Roemig Wins Best Poster Award at Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference

Simon Roemig’s poster presenting research resulting from a collaboration between the Wisconsin MRSEC and the Wisconsin-Puerto Rico Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) was presented with the Chung Soo Yoo Best Poster award at the 79th Annual Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference at Argonne National Laboratory in October 2022.

Roemig, an undergraduate working in Professor Paul Evans’s lab in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, presented a poster entitled, “Lattice Flexibility and Regeneration of Cu-Ligand Based Metal Organic Frameworks during CO2 Adsorption.” He described research involving coordinated pillar-ligand based (CPL) metal-organic frameworks, which are of interest for carbon capture technology due to their selective gas adsorption properties and cyclic regenerative abilities. Roemig used x-ray diffraction to characterize the lattice structure, flexibility, and regeneration of CPLs under high-temperature and high-carbon dioxide adsorption conditions.

The work presented in the poster is the result of a collaboration between the Hernandez-Maldonado group in the Chemical Engineering department at University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez and Evans’s group.

“The Hernandez-Maldonado group performs synthesis of known and novel CPLs. Our structural analysis using x-ray diffraction helps them understand more about the performance of CPLs. We benefit from their vast synthesis experience and the laboratory measurements they perform,” explained Roemig. “Together, our efforts come together to form a cohesive and comprehensive study of these materials.”

Roemig’s first significant step in this project was to rebuild an in situ system used to perform diffraction of the CPLs in precisely controlled high-pressure gas environments. The setup was previously permanent and difficult to relocate, Roemig converted it to be used on a superior diffractometer housed in the UW’s Nanoscale Imaging and Analysis Center, a shared instrumentation facility. Roemig’s summer research in 2021 included building the new setup and creating a new diffraction procedure. After the construction of the new instrumentation, a significant experimental challenge was developing dehydration procedures for CPL-15 and novel CPLs. Finally, Roemig carefully studied how the structure of the compounds changed in high-pressure CO2 gas environments.

Roemig found the project both challenging and fulfilling. “Professor Evans gave me the opportunity to take on the project on my own, which allowed me to gain project management skills,” said Roemig. “I appreciated the freedom to make mistakes and learn things on my own. I very much enjoyed the collaborative aspects of the project, in particular working with experts at the University of Puerto Rico as well as at UW-Madison.”

The project focused on the crystal structure and adsorption properties of the CPLs with an eye on eventual applications in carbon capture technology.

“The environmental aspect of the project motivates me. It is extremely rewarding to study these materials because they could potentially provide solutions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate global warming,” said Roemig.

The Chung Soo Yoo award for best poster, established by the Pittsburgh Diffraction Society to honor Dr. Yoo’s memory, provided a cash prize to the students who best present their poster in the fields of materials and biological research. The annual Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference provided discussion on progress in fundamental and applied diffraction and crystallographic research, ranging from materials discovery for functional devices to targeting viruses for drug development.