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Research interests

Design of 3D Conjugated Polymers as Heterogeneous Photocatalysts

Our research interests focuses on the development of Conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs) for application in heterogeneous photocatalysis. These polymeric materials offer the same advantages of conventional conjugated polymers, with extended p-systems where the electronic levels can be controlled rendering materials that are semiconducting and have a wealth of applications. Therefore we also screen and test the novel CMPs in gas storage and separation and for organic photovoltaics.

1. Development of Conjugated Porous Polymeric Nanoparticles

The general concept is to employ different synthetic strategies in order to develop nano- or micro-sized particles of novel photoactive 3-D conjugated porous polymers (CPPs), whilst retaining a high level of control over their electronic and structural properties. These materials will be designed for distinct applications within solar energy conversion, with emphasis on: (i) organic photovoltaics (OPVs) and (ii) heterogeneous photocatalysis, both of which are in line with sustainable chemistry.

2. Development of Conjugated polyHIPEs

Using a technique known as High Internal Phase Emulsion (HIPE), it is possible to produce polymeric monoliths with hierarchical porosity (pores ranging from micro to macro size). These polymers are known in literature as PolyHIPEs. Our focus is in the development on fully conjugated PolyHIPEs. Since this emulsion technique allows for the pre-formation of the polymeric material into different sizes and formats we aim to apply the porous polymers with view for in-flow photocatalysis.


Filipe started his chemistry degree in 1995 at the University of Lisbon, Portugal and graduated in 2002 where he worked with Professor Susana Santos on “Synthesis and Reactivity of New N-(pyridil)Carbamates”. During this time he also took part in the IAESTE training network at the Technical University of Delft, Delft, The Netherlands, under the supervision of Professor Ulf Hanefeld working on enzymatic catalysis of organic reactions. In 2003 he moved to Dortmund, Germany and joined the Institute for Environmental Research and worked on molecularly imprinted polymers in the group of Professor Borje Sellergren. 

From Spring 2004 until early 2007 Filipe completed his PhD at the 
WestChem School of Chemistry, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland on “The Strathclyde Methodology in Suspension Polymerization - Synthesis of novel branched copolymers” under the supervision of Professor David C. Sherrington FRS and sponsored by Lucite International. 

From May 2007 until December 2010 Filipe joined the group of 
Professor Peter J. Skabara as a EPSRC postdoctoral fellow at the WestChem School of Chemistry, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland as a Post-doctoral fellow where he worked on the topical field of Organic Electronics. 

From January 2011 until September 2013 Filipe became a Research Group Leader appointed by Professor Markus Antonietti at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPI), Potsdam, Germany, working on “Organic Energy Molecules - Development of Nanostructured Materials for Energy Storage, Conversion and Catalysis”. During this time he supervised 5 post-doctoral fellows.

In September 2013 Filipe was appointed as Lecturer in Chemistry at 
Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, continuing to develop materials for photocatalytic applications.

Research Group Contact Details

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Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2007 2019

Additive manufacturing of photoactive polymers for visible light harvesting

Zhakeyev, A., Tobin, J., Wang, H., Vilela, F. & Xuan, J., Feb 2019, In : Energy Procedia. 158, p. 5608-5614 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Open Access
3D printers
Energy harvesting

Batch Versus Flow Lithiation-Substitution of 1,3,4-Oxadiazoles: Exploitation of Unstable Intermediates Using Flow Chemistry

Wong, J. Y. F., Tobin, J. M., Vilela, F. & Barker, G., 20 Sep 2019, In : Chemistry - A European Journal. 25, 53, p. 12439-12445 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Substitution reactions
Pharmaceutical Chemistry

BTZ-copolymer loaded graphene aerogel as new type Green and metal-freevisible light photocatalyst

Tsang, C. H. A., Tobin, J. M., Xuan, J., Vilela, F., Huang, H. & Leung, D. Y. C., Jan 2019, In : Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. 240, p. 50-63 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Light Metals
Light metals

Continuous Flow-Based Laser-Assisted Plasmonic Heating: A New Approach for Photothermal Energy Conversion and Utilization

Belekoukia, M., Kalamaras, E., Tan, J. Z. Y., Vilela, F., Garcia, S., Maroto-Valer, M. M. & Xuan, J., 1 Aug 2019, In : Applied Energy. 247, p. 517-524 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
energy conversion
optical properties

Pd(II)-Catalyzed Enantioselective Desymmetrization of Polycyclic Cyclohexenediones: Conjugate Addition versus Oxidative Heck

Lamb, C. J. C., Vilela, F. & Lee, A-L., 1 Nov 2019, In : Organic Letters. 21, 21, p. 8689-8694 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle