GUST and Northwestern Collaborate in New Scientific Breakthrough
In a scientific collaboration between Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) and Northwestern University, one of the top private research institutions in the US, research teams from both universities have reached a new scientific breakthrough in the fields of surface science and nanotechnology. This unprecedented breakthrough holds promise for numerous applications, including energy storage.
This partnership, which came through GUST’s Functional Materials Group Research Center, led by Vice President of Academic Affairs Prof. Bassam Alameddine, and Northwestern University’s International Institute for Nanotechnology, directed by Prof. Omar Farha, resulted in the discovery of new materials for environmental remediation and separation of gases. Their research paper on the synthesis of new porous materials with serendipitous properties was published by the American Chemical Society and found international attention and recognition.
GUST’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Prof. Bassam Alameddine, who has made the building blocks in his research laboratory at GUST, said, “Not only are these new materials promising but they are also made from cost-effective reagents and abundant elements, such as, copper, zinc, iron, and carbon. The idea stemmed in February 2020 – right before the COVID-19 pandemic – during Prof. Omar’s visit to Kuwait, and despite the severe disruptions, curfew, and travel bans resulting from the pandemic, we were able to achieve these results.”
Prof. Omar Farha, a recipient of the 2019 Kuwait Prize and one of the most renowned researchers in his field with over 550 research articles, emphasized on the exceptional properties the new materials reveal and their potential applications adding, “These crystalline structures that we made demonstrated outstanding efficiency in separating xenon gas, which is an essential element employed in nuclear reactors. Additionally, we found out that the porous materials have a high capacity to absorb sulfur dioxide, which is a toxic gas produced from the combustion of sour petroleum oil, which we will be disclosing in several publications soon”. Prof. Farha also expressed his desire to establish a strategic partnership with research institutes from Kuwait to become a regional hub in this technological field and a key player in the global efforts carried out to reduce the emission of toxic and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
GUST’s Prof. Alameddine also expressed his ambitions in taking this research collaboration as a foundation for the establishment of a national initiative that would allow for further technological developments and increased knowledge transfer in the field of nanotechnology locally. This would be achieved through the creation of a research center in the state of Kuwait which would include several institutes and stakeholders that would place the country at the forefront of the international efforts in tackling modern environmental and sustainable energy challenges. This comes in line with Kuwait Vision 2035 'New Kuwait’, specifically in terms of promoting the concept of knowledge economy, which aims at creating a diversified and sustainable economy through scientific research that provides successful solutions to various problems and challenges.