Areas of Interest
Transport in porous membranes and catalysts
Single-file diffusion in nanochannels
Dr. Vasenkov’s research program focuses on developing fundamental understanding of transport of molecules and ions in porous membranes, sorbents, catalysts and related materials on a broad range of microscopic length scales between around 100 nm and tens of microns. Such materials usually exhibit complex and, in some cases, even hierarchical structure that results in different transport properties on different microscopic length scales. Understanding the complexity of microscale transport in these materials on a fundamental level is required for optimizing their performance in separations and catalysis. It is, however, very difficult to obtain experimental data on such transport with a micrometer and sub-micrometer spatial resolution. For such studies Dr. Vasenkov’s group uses advanced nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques that benefit from combining advantages of high magnetic field and high magnetic field gradients. The work of his group resulted in the first direct measurements of microscale transport in mixed matrix and carbon molecular sieve membranes as well as in aerogel and nanoporous gold catalysts. Dr. Vasenkov’s group was the first to report observation of single-file diffusion of molecular mixtures, an important result for applications in separations and catalysis. Combining analytical models and computer simulations with unique NMR data his group develops fundamental knowledge of microscale transport.