Richard D. Noble
Research Professor

Office: Cristol 357

Mailbox: 215 UCB

Mailing address

University of Colorado Boulder

Department of Chemistry

ATTN: Rich Noble

Cristol Chemistry, 215 UCB

Boulder, CO 80309-0215


BE., ME., Stevens Institute of Technology (1968, 1969)
Ph.D, University of California, Davis (1976)


  • AIChE Institute Service to Society Award (2005)
  • Alfred T. and Betty E. Look Professor of Chemical Engineering (2005-present)
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Chemical Engineering Dept. (2006)
  • ACS Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Division Fellow (2007)
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Chemical Engineering Dept. (2007)
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Chemical Engineering Dept. (2008)
  • CU Boulder Inventor of the Year (2008)
  • Barrer Lecture, Penn State University (2008)
  • Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (2009-2012)
  • Robert L. Stearns Award, CU Alumni Association (2010)
  • Chair d”Excellence Pierre de Fermat, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France (2010)
  • AIChE Institute Excellence in Industrial Gas Technology Award (2010)
  • ASEE Chemical Engineering Chemstations Lectureship Award (2011)
  • AIChE Separations Division Clarence G. Gerhold Award (2011)
  • National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Higher Education/Sustaining University Program Engineering Education Excellence Award (2013)
  • Dean’s Performance Award for Research (2013)
  • IChemE Innovator of the Year (2013)
  • ACS National Award in Separation Science and Technology (2015) 

Research Interests

Ionic Liquids

We are studying the use of ionic liquids for gas separations. We plan to evaluate various ionic liquids and complexation chemistry so that we can tailor the material properties to the feed mixture being separated. Various configurations, including composite polymer/IL structures, as well as the incorporation of complexation chemistry and zeolites, are being studied. We have also developed an apparatus to measure both solubility and diffusivity of gases in ionic liquids. This work is being done in collaboration with Professor Doug Gin.

Use of External Fields for Selective Separations

The basic purpose of research in this area is to study the use of electric or light energy to aid in the selective separation process. The energy is normally used to change the binding affinity of the complexing agent but also can be used to drive the process. Currently, we have developed an electrochemical pump with no moving parts that can produce a pressure in excess of 20 atm. This system has applications for lab-on-a-chip, microspectroscopy, and other micro-scale devices.  We are also developing charged polymer structures that can be used as membrane separators in various electrochemical devices.  These materials have a wide temperature and chemical environment stability window.

Liquid Crystals

Liquid crystals can be organized to form films with a nanostructured polymer network. These structures can be cross-linked to produce stable films that can be used as membranes. These membranes are being evaluated for nanofiltration applications.  These materials can be used in a wide range of water filtration applications including treatment of spent water from fracking applications.   We are also preparing film for use in the electrochemical pump as well as composite structures with ionic liquids. This research is a collaboration with Professor Doug Gin.

Selected Publications

  • 338. Dai, Z.; Ansaloni, L.; Gin, D.L.; Noble, R.D. and Deng, L., “Facile Fabrication of CO2 Separation Membranes by Cross-Linking of Poly(ethylene glycol) Ethere with a Diamine and a Polyamine-based Ionic Liquid”, Journal of Membrane Science, 523, 551-560 (2017).
  • 339. Mori, D.I.; Martin, R.M.; Noble, R.D. and Gin, D.L., “Cross-linked, polyurethane-based, ammonium poly(ionic liquid)/ionic liquid composite films for organic vapor suppression and ion conductionPolymer, 112, 435-446 (2017).
  • 340. Dischinger, S.M.; McGrath, M.J.; Bourland, K.R.; Noble, R.D. and Gin, D.L., “Effect of Post-Polymerization Anion-Exchange on the Rejection of Uncharged Aqueous Solutes in Nanoporous, Ionic Lyotropic Liquid Crystal Polymer Membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 529, 72-79 (2017).
  • 341.  Singh, Z.V.; Tan, L.L.; Cowan, M.G.; Yang, Y.W.; Zhang, W.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “Pillar[5]arene/Matrimid ™ Materials for High-Performance Methane Purification Membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 539, 224-228 (2017).
  • 342. Dischinger,  S.M.; Rosenblum, J.; Noble, R.D.; Gin, D.L. and Linden, K.G., “Application of a Lyotropic Liquid Crystal Nanofiltration Membrane for Hydraulic Fracturing Flowback Water: Selectivity and Implications for Treatment”, Journal of Membrane Science, 542, 319-327 (2017).
  • 343. Lopez, A.M.; Cowan, M.G.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “Phosphonium-Based Poly(ionic liquid)/Ionic Liquid Ion Gel Membranes: Influence of Structure and Ionic Liquid Loading on Ion Conductivity and Light Gas Separation Performance”, Journal of Chemical Engineering Data, 63(5), 1154-1162 (2018).
  • 344. Chisholm, N.O.; Funke, H.H.; Noble, R.D. and Falconer, J.L., “Effect of Toluene Adsorption on Permeation through SAPO-34 Membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 560, 108-114 (2018).
  • 345. Jayaratna, N.B.; Cowan, M.G.; Parasar, D.; Funke, H.H.; Reibenspies, J.; Mykhailiuk, P.K.; Artamonov, O.; Noble, R.D. and Dias, H.V. R., “Low Heat of Adsorption of Ethylene Achieved by Major Solid-State Structural Rearrangement of a Discrete Copper (I) Complex”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 57(50), 16442-16446 (2018).
  • 346. Chisholm, N.O.; Funke, H.H.; Noble, R.D. and Falconer, J.L., “Carbon Dioxide/Alkane Separations in a SSZ-13 Membrane”, Journal of Membrane Science, 568, 17-21 (2018).
  • 347.  Dunn, C.A.; Shi, Z.; Zhou, R.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “(Cross-Linked Poly(Ionic Liquid)–Ionic Liquid–Zeolite) Mixed-Matrix Membranes for CO2/CH4 Gas Separations Based on Curable Ionic Liquid Prepolymers”, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 58(11), 4704-4708, (2019).
  • 348.  Feng, X.;  Kawabata,K.;  Cowan, M.G.; Dwulet, G.E.; Toth, K.; Sixdenier, L.; Haji-Akbari, A.; Noble, R.D.; Elimelech,M.; Gin, D.L.and  Osuji, kC.O., “Single crystal texture by directed molecular self-assembly along dual axes”, Nature Materials, June 17, (2019).
  • 349.  Bara, J.; Finotello, A.; Magee, J.; Qian, S.; O'Harra, K.; Dennis, G.; and Noble, R.D., "110th Anniversary: Properties of Imidazolium-based Ionic Liquids Bearing both Benzylic and n-Alkyl Substituents", Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 58(38), 17956-17964 (2019).
  • 350.  Dwulet, G.E.; Dischinger, S.M.; McGrath, M.J.; Basalla, A.; Malecha, J.; Noble, R.D.; and Gin, D.L., “Breathable, Polydopamine-coated Nanoporous Membranes that Selectively Reject Nerve and Blister Agent Simulant Vapors”, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 58(47), 21890-21893 (2019).
  • 351.  McGrath, M.J.; Hardy, S.; Basalla, A.; Dwulet, G.E.; Manubay, B.; Malecha, J.; Shi, Z.; Funke, H.H.; Gin, D.L.; and Noble, R.D., "Polymerization of Counteranions in the Cationic Nanopores of a Cross-linked Lyotropic Liquid Crystal Network to Modify Ion Transport Properties", ACS Materials Letters, in press.
  • 352.  Dischinger, S.M.; Rosenblum, J.; Noble, R.D. and Gin, D.L., “Evaluation of a Nanoporous Lyotropic Liquid Crystal Polymer Membrane for the Treatment of Hydraulic Fracturing Produced Water via Cross-Flow Filtration”, Journal of Membrane Science, 592, (2019).