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Nanoporous materials have many applications including the formation of high surface area electrodes that increase the efficiency of fuel cells, photovoltaics, OLED devices and membrane separation technologies, such as desalination.
The main advantage of these materials is that they can be bicontinuous, which means that the porous portions of the material are completely accessible. Currently it is difficult to create such a structure in a controlled manner, as this requires controlled chemistry and long processing times.
This novel invention is a robust method of creating nanoporous materials from copolymeric systems. Through the application of the UV radiation. cross-linking and photodegradation convert an initially spherical, micellar system into a bicontinuous matrix of polymer and voids.
The resulting template can be used as-is or can, with further, simple chemical transformations, be converted into inorganic nanoporous materials that have other exotic functionalities such as water splitting, tunable magnetoelectric properties, and high surface area electrodes.