Welcome to the Hybrid Materials group!


We are based in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy (University of Cambridge), and focus on the the intersection of the hybrid material and amorphous domains. We also work on the thermo-mechanical properties of crystalline framework materials.


3 year Research Assistant/Associate (Fixed Term) – New Glass-Based MOF Materials

The post, funded by a Leverhulme Trust research grant, is available for 36 months. The position will ideally start on 6th October 2020, though the current situation regarding the Coronavirus epidemic means that flexibility is of course possible. This also means that interviews will be held via Skype.

This position is for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate to work in Dr. Thomas Douglas Bennett’s research group (https://tdbennettgroup.wordpress.com/), on an ambitious project which looks at creating new composite glass-based materials alongside Professor David Keen (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory). The project will involve both inorganic and hybrid materials synthesis, state of the art characterization and physical properties measurements including gas sorption analysis and nanoindentation.

Qualifications required: Candidates should have a PhD, or should be about to graduate, and have a strong background in Chemistry, Materials Science or a closely related subject.

Experience Criteria: Expertise in the techniques of pair distribution function analysis and/or transmission electron microscopy would be highly desirable. A background knowledge of glasses, and/or metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) is desirable. You will be expected to integrate into a team of ca. 10 PhD and post-doctoral researchers, and be the daily point of contact for a PhD student on a related project. Good interpersonal skills are therefore required, alongside the ability to coordinate your own academic research and administrative activities.

Other responsibilities include: * Working with researchers from different disciplines, both within, and outside of the UK. * Co-ordinating activities with industry partners. * Analysing and interpreting the results of their own research, generating original ideas and leading the production of publications based on these. * Designing and conducting a coherent set of experiments and record their outcome. * Presenting information on research progress and outcomes to internal and external contacts, both academic and industrial.

The successful candidate will have access to state-of-the-art synthesis and characterization facilities, including an electron microscopy suite, FTIR, polymer characterization laboratory and gas sorption equipment.

The advert may be found here:


Fully-Funded (Home Rate) PhD Studentship (Fixed Term) – Creating New Glass-Based Metal-Organic Framework Materials

Start Date: October 2020/January 2021/October 2021

Supervisory Team: Dr Thomas D Bennett and Professor David A Keen

A fully funded, 3.5 year studentship (is available in the Hybrid Materials group, in the Materials Science and Metallurgy Department, University of Cambridge). This is for ‘Home’ rate students only. The flexibility in start date is due to the current situation regarding the Coronavirus epidemic. Interviews may be held by Skype.

This post is generously funded by a project grant from the Leverhulme Trust, and seeks to develop new metal-organic framework (MOF) materials based upon existing glasses. Specifically, this ambitious, experimentally-focused project will involve the use of solvothermal and ‘green’ mechanochemical techniques to synthesize both inorganic, and hybrid materials. Structural characterization will be performed primarily through pair distribution function analysis and electron microscopy, and the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of advanced materials studied through thermal analysis, gas sorption analysis and nanoindentation.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to look at the research group website (https://tdbennettgroup.wordpress.com/). For further information about the project, please get in touch with Dr Thomas Bennett (tdb35@cam.ac.uk) in advance of applying. Please send a CV (two pages maximum) and expression of interest before making a formal application.

Representative publications from the group include:

https://www.nature.com/articles/nmat4998 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10470-z https://chemrxiv.org/articles/Metal-OrganicFrameworkandInorganicGlass_Composites/12022905/1?file=22089741

Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper second or first class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents) and should meet the criteria for UK/EU residency and liability for ‘home rate’ fees. The on-line application system is available at https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/. Further information on the application process is available from Rosie Ward (remw2@cam.ac.uk).


The advert may be found here:


Hybrid Inorganic-Organic Perovskite Glasses

Congratulations to Dr. Bikash Kumar Shaw, a Royal Society Newton International Fellow in the group who has published a pre-print of his work on forming functional glasses from hybrid inorganic-organic perovskites.

The work can be found on the ChemRxiv:

Hybrid Inorganic-Organic Perovskite Glasses

Bikash Kumar Shaw Ashlea R. Hughes Maxime Ducamp David A. Keen François-Xavier Coudert Frederic Blanc Thomas Bennett*


PhD Studentship Available: Hybrid Materials Under ‘Extreme’ Conditions

The advert for this fully funded 4 year studentship is now online:


We are looking for a PhD student to start in October 2020, and work on beautiful phase diagrams of MOF systems like the below! The project involves synthesis and characterisation of crystalline (and amorphous) MOFs, high-pressure and high-temperature X-ray diffraction measurements, and the Diamond Light Source Synchrotron.

Due to funder requirements, the post is available for UK and EU students only. Please do get in touch for a chat, and a visit, if interested.


Metal-Organic Framework Gels and Monoliths


The synthesis of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) has, to date, largely been in the form of crystalline powders. However, interest in different physical morphologies of this class of materials is growing. In this perspective, we provide an overview of the structure, properties and applications of MOF monoliths. In particular, we explore the complex synthetic landscapes associated with MOF crystallization and discuss the synthetic factors leading to the formation of MOF gels, i.e. the precursor to sol–gel MOF monoliths. Finally, we provide our thoughts on the future development of this field, and attempt to highlight the importance of the MOF gel state in the discovery of new functional materials.

24 Month Post-Doctoral Associate Position

Come and work with us!

There is a fantastic opportunity for a post-doctoral researcher to join the group for 24 months, with an ideal start date in January 2020. The position is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, who awarded one of their fantastic prizes in Chemistry to Tom this year.

Full details can be found in the job description below:


Applications close on 21st November 2019, and please do get in touch with Tom directly by email for informal enquiries.

Identifying loading limits in metal-organic framework crystal-glass composites

Well done to Chris for publishing his first, first author paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society!

Metal–organic framework crystal-glass composites (MOF-CGCs) are materials in which a crystalline MOF is dispersed within a MOF glass. In this work, we explore the room-temperature stabilization of the open-pore form of MIL-53(Al), usually observed at high temperature, which occurs upon encapsulation within a ZIF-62(Zn) MOF glass matrix. A series of MOF-CGCs containing different loadings of MIL-53(Al) were synthesized and characterized using X-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. An upper limit of MIL-53(Al) that can be stabilized in the composite was determined for the first time. The nanostructure of the composites was probed using pair distribution function analysis and scanning transmission electron microscopy. Notably, the distribution and integrity of the crystalline component in a sample series were determined, and these findings were related to the MOF-CGC gas adsorption capacity in order to identify the optimal loading necessary for maximum CO2 sorption capacity.

The paper can be accessed online:

Synthesis and Properties of a Compositional Series of MIL-53(Al) Metal–Organic Framework Crystal-Glass Composites

C. W. Ashling, D. N. Johnstone, R. N. Widmer, J. Hou, S. M. Collins, A. F. Sapnik, A. Bumstead, P. A. Chater, D. A. Keen and Thomas. D. Bennett*, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b07557

High Pressure – High Temperature Phase Diagrams of MOFs

Well done to Remo on publications in Nature Materials and J. Am. Chem. Soc. on the first high-pressure high-temperature phase diagrams of metal-organic frameworks.

The first looks at the negative melting slope of ZIF-62, i.e. why it becomes easier to melt with applied pressure:


Pressure promoted low-temperature melting of metal-organic frameworks

R. N. Widmer, G. I. Lampronti, S. Anzellini, R. Gaillac, S. Farsang, C. Zhou, A. M. Belenguer, H. Palmer, A. K. Kleppe, M. T. Wharmby,  S. A. T. Redfern, F. X. Coudert, S. G. Macleod, T. D. Bennett,Nat. Mater., 2019, DOI: 10.1038/s41563-019-0317-4.


The second looks at polymorphism in the ZIF-4 family, and shows the rich array of unusual phases which might be obtained by the simultaneous application of pressure and temperature:



Rich polymorphism of a metal-organic framework in oressure-temperature space

R. N. Widmer, G. I. Lampronti, S. Chibani, C. W. Wilson, S. Anzellini, S. Farsang, A. K. Kleppe, N. P. M. Casati, S. G. MacLeod, S. A. T. Redfern, F. X. Coudert and T. D. Bennett*,   J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019141, 9330-9337.

Metal-organic Framework Crystal-Glass Composites

Congratulations to Jingwei, Chris and the team on the publication of their paper on MOF CGCs in Nature Communications!


The work demonstrates how embedding MOFs inside a MOF glass can result in the stabilization of high temperature forms of the crystal structure, even at room temperature.

Metal-organic framework crystal-glass composites

J. Hou, C. W. Ashling, S. M. Collins, A. Krajnc, C. Zhou, L. Longley, D. N. Johnstone, P. Chater, S. Li, M. V. Coulet, P. L. Llewellyn, F. X. Coudert, D. A. Keen, P. A. Midgley, G. Mali, V. Chen, T. D. Bennett,* Nat. Commun., 2019, 10, 2580.