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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Recent and forthcoming advances in MOF superstructures synthesis

Researchers from the ICN2 Supramolecular NanoChemistry and Materials Group have published a Concept Article in Chemistry: A European Journal to showcase recently developed synthetic strategies to control the 1-, 2- and 3-D organization of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOF) crystals.

Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOF) are among the most attractive porous materials known today. They exhibit very high surface areas, tuneable pore sizes and shapes, adjustable surface functionality, and flexible structures. Advances in the formation of MOF crystals, and in their subsequent assembly into more complex superstructures, should expand the scope of these materials in many applications and facilitate their integration onto surfaces and into devices. Some of their potential applications are related with drug delivery, chemical sensors, selective reactors or removal devices.

In this context, researchers from the ICN2 Supramolecular NanoChemistry and Materials Group have developed a Concept Article in Chemistry: A European Journal to showcase recently developed synthetic strategies to control the one-, two- and three-dimensional (1-, 2- and 3-D) organization of MOF crystals for the generation of MOF superstructures. The expert authors of the article are PhD student Arnau Carné-Sanchez, Ramón y Cajal Fellow Dr Inhar Imaz, Marie Curie Fellow Dr Kyriakos Stylianou and Group Leader ICREA Prof Daniel Maspoch.

The authors conducted a survey on the very recently developed approaches to construct the first-ever MOF superstructures, all of which entail the control over MOF crystallisation and/or the subsequent spatial layout of the resulting crystals. They have categorized these methods as 1) spontaneous higher-order assembly, 2) self-assembly using hard templates, 3) self-assembly using soft templates and 4) self-templated synthesis.

ICN2 researchers state that the coming years will witness further methodological progress in terms of controlling the composition, size, shape, MOF-crystal packing and interfaces (between MOF crystals and other materials) in MOF superstructures. Given the potential collective and synergistic properties that can arise through the assembly of MOF crystals (whether alone or with other materials), the forthcoming synthetic advances will ultimately enable the use of MOF superstructures in myriad applications.

The potential applications include, among others:

Sensors (e.g., photonic MOF superstructures) Catalysts Systems for magnetic pollutant removal or for triggered delivery (e.g., inorganic nanoparticle@MOF composite superstructures) Separation agents (e.g., membrane-like MOF superstructures) Sorbents (e.g., SiO2@MOF superstructures) Selective reactors and encapsulation systems (e.g., capsule-like MOF superstructures). Reference of the article:

Carné-Sanchez A, Imaz I, Stylianou KC, Maspoch D. Metal-Organic Frameworks: From Molecules/Metal Ions to Crystals to Superstructures. Chemistry A European Journal. 2014 Mar 18. doi: 10.1002/chem.201304529. [Epub ahead of print] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/chem.201304529/abstract;jsessionid=64954CC3B6CA54CC0173D619B92A8F6B.f01t03