Luis Francisco Villalobos

Luis Francisco Villalobos's picture

Ph.D. Chemical and Biological Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, 2017

M.S. Chemical and Biological Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, 2012

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2010

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Luis Francisco “Paco” joined Prof. Elimelech’s group as a postdoctoral fellow in October 2021. His research focuses on engineering ion selective membranes by developing an improved understanding of the key structure-property relationships and transport mechanisms involved in the permeation of ions. Paco is financially supported by a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship.

Prior to joining Yale, Paco worked at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) on developing synthetic routes for two-dimensional nanoporous membranes with a precise control of nanopore size and functionality. He mainly focused on postsynthetic routes to etch nanopores in single layer graphene, the bottom-up synthesis of nanoporous graphene membranes, and the synthesis and assembly of intrinsically nanoporous nanosheets (e.g, carbon nitride and zeolite exfoliated nanosheets).

He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) working with Prof. Klaus-Viktor Peinemann, where he developed strategies to use intrinsically porous molecules as the main building block for membranes and pioneered the development of a phase inversion technique to concentrate metal ions in only the selective layer of polymeric membranes for applications like hydrogen recovery, biofouling control, and catalysis. 

Outside of work, Paco enjoys water sports (kitesurfing, swimming, scuba and free diving), hiking, skiing, board games, traveling, and spending time with his family.


pdfs and supporting information for group papers available on the main publications page

  1. L. F. Villalobos, D.J. Babu, K.-J. Hsu, C. Van Goethem & K. V. Agrawal, “Gas separation membranes with atom-thick nanopores: The potential of nanoporous single-layer graphene”, Accounts of Materials Research,, 2022

  2. M. Rezaei, L. F. Villalobos, K.-J. Hsu & K. V. Agrawal, “Demonstrating and Unraveling a Controlled Nanometer‐Scale Expansion of the Vacancy Defects in Graphene by CO2”, Angewandte Chemie, 202200321, 2022

  3. H.-Y. Chi, C. Chen, K. Zhao, L. F. Villalobos, P. A. Schouwink, L. Piveteau, K. P. Marshall, Q. Liu, Y. Han & K. V. Agrawal, “Unblocking Ion‐occluded Pore Channels in Poly(triazine imide) Framework for Proton Conduction”, Angewandte Chemie,, 2022

  4. W.C. Lee, A. Ronghe, L. F. Villalobos, S. Huang, M. Dakhchoune, M. Mensi, K.-J. Hsu, K.G. Ayappa & K. V. Agrawal, “Enhanced Water Evaporation from Å-scale Graphene Nanopores”, ACS Nano,, 2022

  5. L. F. Villalobos, C. Van Goethem, K. Hsu, S. Li, M. Moradi, K. Zhao, M. Dakhchoune, S. Huang, Y. Shen, E. Oveisi, V. Boureau & K. V. Agrawal, “Bottom-up synthesis of graphene films hosting atom-thick molecular- sieving apertures.”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118, e2022201118, 2021

  6. M. Dakhchoune, L. F. Villalobos, R. Semino, L. Liu, M. Rezaei, P. Schouwink, C. E. Avalos, P. Baade, V. Wood, Y. Han, M. Ceriotti & K. V. Agrawal, “Gas-sieving zeolitic membranes fabricated by condensation of precursor nanosheets”, Nature Materials, 20, 362–369, 2021

  7. K.-J. Hsu, L. F. Villalobos, S. Huang, H.-Y. Chi, M. Dakhchoune, W.-C. Lee, G. He, M. Mensi & K. V. Agrawal, “Multi-pulsed millisecond ozone gasification for predictable tuning of nucleation and nucleation-decoupled nanopore expansion in graphene for carbon capture”, ACS Nano, 15, 13230–13239, 2021

  8. S. Huang, S. Li, L. F. Villalobos, M. Dakhchoune, M. Micari, D. J. Babu, M. T. Vahdat, M. Mensi, E. Oveisi & K. V. Agrawal, “Millisecond lattice gasification for high-density CO2- and O2-sieving nanopores in single-layer graphene”, Science Advances, 7, eabf0116, 2021

  9. L. F. Villalobos, S. Huang, M. Dakhchoune, G. He, W.-C. Lee & K. V. Agrawal, “Polybenzimidazole copolymer derived lacey carbon film for graphene transfer and contamination removal strategies for imaging graphene nanopores”, Carbon, 173, 980–988, 2021

  10. S. Huang, S. Li, K.-J. Hsu, L. F. Villalobos & K. V. Agrawal, “Systematic design of millisecond gasification reactor for the incorporation of gas-sieving nanopores in single-layer graphene”, Journal of Membrane Science, 119628, 2021

  11. M. Dakhchoune, X. Duan, L. F. Villalobos, K.-J. Hsu, J. Zhao, M. Micari & K. V. Agrawal, “Rapid Gas Transport from Block-Copolymer Templated Nanoporous Carbon Films”, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 60, 16100–16108, 2021

  12. L. F. Villalobos, M. T. Vahdat, M. Dakhchoune, Z. Nadizadeh, M. Mensi, E. Oveisi, D. Campi, N. Marzari & K. V. Agrawal, “Large-scale synthesis of crystalline g-C3N4 nanosheets and high temperature H2 sieving from assembled films”, Science Advances, 6, eaay9851, 2020

  13. G. He, S. Huang, L. F. Villalobos, M. T. Vahdat, M. D. Guiver, J. Zhao, W.-C. Lee, M. Mensi & K. V. Agrawal, “Synergistic CO 2 ‐Sieving from Polymer with Intrinsic Microporosity Masking Nanoporous Single‐Layer Graphene”, Advanced Functional Materials, 30, 2003979, 2020

  14. M. T. Vahdat, D. Campi, N. Colonna, L. F. Villalobos, N. Marzari & K. V. Agrawal, “Efficient Kr/Xe separation from triangular g-C3N4nanopores, a simulation study”, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 8, 17747–17755, 2020

  15. G. He, S. Huang, L. F. Villalobos, J. Zhao, M. Mensi, E. Oveisi, M. Rezaei & K. V. Agrawal, “High-permeance polymer-functionalized single-layer graphene membranes that surpass the postcombustion carbon capture target”, Energy & Environmental Science, 12, 3305–3312, 2019

  16. J. Zhao, G. He, S. Huang, L. F. Villalobos, M. Dakhchoune, H. Bassas & K. V. Agrawal, “Etching gas-sieving nanopores in single-layer graphene with an angstrom precision for high-performance gas mixture separation”, Science Advances, 5, eaav1851, 2019

  17. S. Huang, L. F. Villalobos, D. J. Babu, G. He, M. Li, A. Züttel & K. V. Agrawal, “Ultrathin Carbon Molecular Sieve Films and Room-Temperature Oxygen Functionalization for Gas-Sieving”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 11, 16729–16736, 2019

  18. D. J. Babu*, G. He*, L. F. Villalobos* & K. V. Agrawal, “Crystal Engineering of Metal–Organic Framework Thin Films for Gas Separations”, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7, 49–69, 2019   [*equal contribution]

  19. F. H. Akhtar, H. Vovushua, L. F. Villalobos, R. Shevate, M. Kumar, S. P. Nunes, U. Schwingenschlögl & K.-V. Peinemann, “Highways for water molecules: Interplay between nanostructure and water vapor transport in block copolymer membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 572, 641–649, 2019

  20.  F. H. Akhtar, M. Kumar, H. Vovusha, R. Shevate, L. F. Villalobos, U. Schwingenschlögl & K.-V. Peinemann, “Scalable Synthesis of Amphiphilic Copolymers for CO2- and Water-Selective Membranes: Effect of Copolymer Composition and Chain Length”, Macromolecules, 52, 6213–6226, 2019

  21. A. Bananezhad, M. Jović, L. F. Villalobos, K. V. Agrawal, M. R. Ganjali & H. H. Girault, “Large-scale fabrication of flexible solid-state reference electrodes”, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 847, 113241, 2019

  22. H. Cheng, Q. Guan, L. F. Villalobos, K.-V. Peinemann, A. Pain & P.-Y. Hong, “Understanding the antifouling mechanisms related to copper oxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in anaerobic membrane bioreactors”, Environmental Science: Nano, 6, 3467–3479, 2019

  23.  L. F. Villalobos, R. Hilke, F. H. Akhtar & K.-V. Peinemann, “Fabrication of Polybenzimidazole/Palladium Nanoparticles Hollow Fiber Membranes for Hydrogen Purification”, Advanced Energy Materials, 8, 1701567, 2018

  24. R. Shevate, M. A. Haque, F. H. Akhtar, L. F. Villalobos, T. Wu & K.-V. Peinemann, “Embedding 1D Conducting Channels into 3D Isoporous Polymer Films for High-Performance Humidity Sensing”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 57, 11218–11222, 2018

  25. L. F. Villalobos, T. Huang & K.-V. Peinemann, “Cyclodextrin Films with Fast Solvent Transport and Shape-Selective Permeability”, Advanced Materials, 29, 1606641, 2017

  26. M. Karunakaran, L. F. Villalobos, M. Kumar, R. Shevate, F. H. Akhtar & K.-V. Peinemann, “Graphene oxide doped ionic liquid ultrathin composite membranes for efficient CO2 capture”, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 5, 649–656, 2017

  27. F. H. Akhtar, M. Kumar, L. F. Villalobos, H. Vovusha, R. Shevate, U. Schwingenschlögl & K.-V. Peinemann, “Polybenzimidazole-based mixed membranes with exceptionally high water vapor permeability and selectivity”, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 5, 21807–21819, 2017

  28. E. Barankova, X. Tan, L. F. Villalobos, E. Litwiller & K.-V. Peinemann, “A Metal Chelating Porous Polymeric Support: The Missing Link for a Defect-Free Metal-Organic Framework Composite Membrane”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 56, 2965–2968, 2017

  29. J. Aburabie, L. F. Villalobos & K.-V. Peinemann, “Composite Membrane Formation by Combination of Reaction-Induced and Nonsolvent-Induced Phase Separation”, Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, 302, 1700131, 2017

  30. L. F. Villalobos, Y. Xie, S. P. Nunes & K.-V. Peinemann, “Polymer and Membrane Design for Low Temperature Catalytic Reactions”, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 37, 700–704, 2016

  31. L. F. Villalobos, S. Chisca, H. Cheng, P.-Y. Hong, S. Nunes & K.-V. Peinemann, “In situ growth of biocidal AgCl crystals in the top layer of asymmetric polytriazole membranes”, RSC Advances, 6, 46696–46701, 2016

  32. H. Cheng, Y. Xie, L. F. Villalobos, L. Song, K.-V. Peinemann, S. Nunes & P.-Y. Hong, “Antibiofilm effect enhanced by modification of 1,2,3-triazole and palladium nanoparticles on polysulfone membranes”, Scientific Reports, 6, 24289, 2016

  33. L. F. Villalobos, M. Karunakaran & K.-V. Peinemann, “Complexation-Induced Phase Separation: Preparation of Composite Membranes with a Nanometer-Thin Dense Skin Loaded with Metal Ions”, Nano Letters, 15, 3166–3171, 2015

  34. L. F. Villalobos, T. Yapici & K.-V. Peinemann, “Poly-thiosemicarbazide membrane for gold recovery”, Separation and Purification Technology, 136, 94–104, 2014

  35. L. F. Villalobos, P. Neelakanda, M. Karunakaran, D. Cha & K.-V. Peinemann, “Poly-thiosemicarbazide/gold nanoparticles catalytic membrane: In-situ growth of well-dispersed, uniform and stable gold nanoparticles in a polymeric membrane”, Catalysis Today, 236, 92–97, 2014

  36. A. Anaya, R. Suárez, F. J. Pacheco, A. S. Garcia & L. F. Villalobos, “Cooling water outlet temperature: Evaluating the best maximum value”, Chemical Engineering, 119, 46–50, 2012

  37. A. Anaya, M. J. De Villafranca, A. S. Garcia, D. Jara, F. J. Pacheco, R. Suárez, J. Sampieri & L. F. Villalobos, “Updating the rules for pipe sizing: The most economical velocity in piping has shifted downward over the last 40 years”, Chemical Engineering, 117, 48–50, 2010