Dawei Cao is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Prof. Shuming Peng (China Academy of Engineering Physics) and Prof. Zhengjun Zhang (Tsinghua University). He graduated from Amoy University in 2012. His current research concentrates  on the separation and analysis of hydrogen isotopes.


Hydrogen isotope separation is among the key technological problems in realizing the peaceful utilization of nuclear fusion energy, moreover, gas atmosphere in the process flow of ITER fuel cycle is more than complexity. Thus, making effective separation and analysis of hydrogen isotopic mixtures necessary and an urgent task to be addressed. As hydrogen isotopes share almost identical shape, size, and chemical properties, separating and analyzing of hydrogen isotopes is really not an easy task. In this letter, ultralow temperature separation of H2/D2 mixture through quantum sieving was experimentally examined on two metal-organic framework (MOF) materials, with an extreme two-dimensional confinement formed within the material of {[Fe(OH)(H2bta)](H2O)}n experienced by hydrogen molecules, an extraordinary separation factor of H2/D2 as high as 41.4±0.4 at 20 K was finally experimentally obtained. Furthermore, MOF material CPL-1 ([Cu2(pzdc)2(pyz)]n) was further tested as the stationary phase of gas chromatography for the analysis of H2/HD/D2 mixtures, with a large specific surface area and uniform pore size, CPL-1 showed a better adsorption of H2/D2 in capacity than that of MnCl2@γ-Al2O3 and γ-Al2O3, and CPL-1 packed column showed more rapidly in signal detection, i.e., less retention time, than that of MnCl2@γ-Al2O3 toward H2/HD/D2 under a condition of 77 K and carrier gas (Ne) flow rate of 3 ml/min. With a sampling volume of 0.25~2.0 ml, GC with CPL-1 packed column showed good linear respondence toward measurement of H2/HD/D2 mixtures with mean relative error less than 4 %, showing promising potential use of MOF material in hydrogen isotope chromatographic analysis.