Led by: Dr Tom Sturgeon, Immaterial

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the most concerning and challenging pollutants the UK faces. Removing it from our air is one of the UK’s top priorities in its Clean Air Strategy. Immaterial is a spin-out company from the University of Cambridge that has developed a novel porous material that captures more NO2 on polluted days than possible with incumbent filtration media, and keeps it captured on clean days.

This project will integrate these ground-breaking materials into prototypes equivalent in design and use to the air cleaning devices available commercially today. Immaterial is working closely with leading academics and device manufacturers in this project. The University of York will be testing the prototypes during typical domestic activities such as cooking and cleaning to independently verify the effectiveness and inform iterative prototype development at Immaterial. In parallel, Immaterial will be working with device manufacturers to swiftly deploy our technology into commercial products.

Prior to this phase of the project, Immaterial used proprietary simulations to identify the most effective MOF structures for NO2 in the domestic environment and then produced and tested these structures in tuneable, densified forms. This is an approach that can be reproduced to develop enhanced cleaning materials for other critical gaseous pollutants. These may be pollutants well recognised today, such as ozone, or those that are identified as we come to better understand the causes and effects of indoor air pollution in the future.

Immaterial is an early-stage company, expert in porous materials. The company was founded in 2015 following the breakthrough discovery of a densified form of a class of materials known as monolithic metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) at the University of Cambridge.