Accelerated Robotic Discovery of Type II Porous Liquids

Porous liquids are an emerging class of materials and to date little is known about how to best design their properties. For example, bulky solvents are required that are size-excluded from the pores in the liquid, along with high concentrations of the porous component, but both of these factors may also contribute to higher viscosities, which are undesirable. Hence, the inherent multivariate nature of porous liquids makes them amenable to high-throughput optimisation strategies. Here we develop a high-throughput robotic workflow, encompassing the synthesis, characterisation and property testing of highly-soluble, vertex-disordered porous organic cages dissolved in a range of cavity-excluded solvents. As a result, we identified 29 cage-solvent combinations that combine both higher cage-cavity concentrations and more acceptable carrier solvents than the best previous examples. The most soluble materials gave three times the pore concentration of the best previously reported scrambled cage porous liquid, as demonstrated by increased gas uptake. We were also able to explore alternative methods for gas capture and release, including liberation of the gas by increasing the temperature. We also found that porous liquids can form gels at higher concentrations, trapping the gas in the pores, which could have potential applications in gas storage and transportation.