NANOCAPILLARY is an integrated tool facilitating an in-depth characterisation of porous materials. The tool contains 3 distinctive and innovative elements: 1) EXPERIMENTALHARDWARE, 2) SOFTWARE, and 3) DATABASE; described as follows:
EXPERIMENTAL-HARDWARE refers to an appropriate sample cell that allows an in-situ study of the adsorption process with Small Angle Scattering (SAS) -normally a static procedure- to be carried out under dynamic conditions. A centrifugal field of force will be attained by rotating the sample cell, setting the adsorbed film into vibration; at a relative pressure close to capillary condensation in a given class of pores, a spectrum of metastable configurations will become experimentally accessible. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that a research group attempts this kind of dynamic experiment.
SOFTWARE refers to a suitable program for SAS data analysis. This software will allow the user to virtually synthesise a material, using a simple 2D drawing toolset, and then mathematically model the material in 3D-space with the aid of a 3D Visualisation Server and the database described below. The output will be a theoretical scattering spectrum; and vice versa: that is, SAS data may be input into the software for analysis, resulting in a model for the material and the adsorption and flow processes that takes place inside it (when applicable). This semi-empirical method is a new approach to the problem of the analysis of scattering data, where commonly the inverse Fourier transformation techniques are
employed with limited success.
DATABASE refers to a world-large databank that will be developed to store results and observations from experiments to enable an empirical solution to the problem. The University of Oxford will host the databank. The results will be taken from current or previous experiments, including those that are detailed in publications or submitted to the database by users. Data mining algorithms will be developed to extract data and classify them (using metadata) into data marts, so that they can be systematically retrieved when necessary. A database of scattering spectra of various materials is a simple but powerful action that will greatly benefit our SAS community.