Invisible CO2 set to become a little more visible

Invisible gases belched out by the energy industry are set to become more visible, following an announcement by scientists.

Researchers at Kyoto University have come up with a way to see CO2, while also cutting the power needed to do it from what is a highly energy intensive practice.

The findings show flexible crystalline material (porous coordination polymer, or PCP) transforms according to changes in the environment.

When the material is infused with a fluorescent reporter molecule (distyrylbenzene, or DSB), the composite becomes sensitive specifically to carbon dioxide gas, glowing with varying intensity based on changing concentrations of the gas.

Lead author for the paper was Dr Nobuhiro Yanai of the university's Graduate School of Engineering, said: "The real test for us was to see whether the composite could differentiate between carbon dioxide and acetylene, which have similar physiochemical properties.

"Our findings clearly show this PCP-DSB combination reacts very differently to the two gases, making accurate CO2 detection possible in a wide variety of applications."

The article 'gas detection by structural variations of fluorescent guest molecules in a flexible porous coordination polymer' was published online yesterday (September 4), in Nature Materials.

Luke Walsh


CO2 | gas | energy manager


Energy efficiency & low-carbon

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