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MOFs Research

 

We research new materials, in particular, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). MOFs are porous network solids composed of metal ions and organic linkers. This hybrid nature makes them structurally diverse as well as offering modular methods for variation. They can be made very stable (e.g. to water, steam, even acid gases). For our purposes, they serve as a platform where their properties can be determined by the pore sizes, pore shapes, network topology and the chemical functionalities lining and occupying the pores. Some target fields are listed below but this list is not comprehensive.

 

Carbon Dioxide Capture/Gas separations

The use of solids to capture CO2 from point emission sources can reduce costs for capture by lowering the energy needed to regenerate the sorbent and also by having lower capital infrastructure requirements. The wish list of properties for an ideal solid sorbent are many and to meaningfully assess the promise of a MOF requires engineering partners and an idea of the parasitic energy that results from incorporation of the MOF into a gas separation process under specific regeneration conditions. We have collaborations for MOF implementation both up and down the development chain and we have published and patented our work in this area.

 

 

Proton Conductors

An ultimate goal of this research is better proton conducting membranes. Compositionally, MOFs can be regarded as a merging of solid acids and organic polymers. An ideal proton conductor should have a series of H-bond donor/acceptor sites linked by a low activation energy transfer pathway. In this regard, MOFs are a logical candidate. We, and others, have now reported water stable MOFs that conduct over 10-2 Scm-1. Opportunities exist for making better MOFs and for their incorporation into membranes for further testing.

 


Group members often work in both of these themes. At the same time, research is not limited to these two areas and we have several projects that are simply based in studying and understanding self-assembly with no specific target applications. These projects often lead to the pursuit of a new property or application.

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