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Monday, 02 December 2019

Advances in the study of novel colloidal metal-organic particles

A tutorial review authored by researchers of the ICN2 Supramolecular NanoChemistry and Materials Group, led by ICREA Prof. Daniel Maspoch, has been recently published on Chemical Society Review and has been featured on its front cover. This paper discusses synthesis techniques and potential applications of colloidal particles of zeolitic imidazolate framework-8.

Compounds of the Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) family are being largely studied for their useful properties: they are crystalline porous materials -- consisting of metal ions or clusters and organic molecules -- that can be engineered in different structures. This allows adapting the characteristics of these structures to the specific applications they are designed for. Among MOFs is zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8), which in addition can be synthesised in colloidal crystals, providing even more advantages.

Researchers of the ICN2 Supramolecular NanoChemistry and Materials Group, led by ICREA Prof. Daniel Maspoch, have recently published on Chemical Society Review a paper on relevant advances in the synthesis and study of ZIF-8. This compound combines the porosity-derived properties of MOFs with the features of colloids, which are substances that do not generate a perfect solution, neither a suspension, when dispersed in a solvent.

Monodisperse ZIF-8 particles – where monodisperse means that they have all the same size – can be synthesised and their dimension and morphology tuned at will. This precise control offers the possibility to develop novel functional materials and composites showing interesting properties, which can be profitably exploited in photonics, biomedicine and catalysis applications.

In this review, the authors discuss the synthesis of these structures, analyzing various approaches to it and highlighting the lessons learnt over years of research in this field. They also deal with the combination of colloidal ZIF-8 crystals with other materials and the characteristics of the particles produced this way. Possible applications of structures based on ZIF-8, such as to drug delivery and pollutant removal techniques, are introduced as well.


Reference article:

Colloidal metal-organic framework particle: the pioneering case of ZIF-8, J. Troyano, A. Carné-Sánchez, C. Avci, I. Imaz and D. Maspoch, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2019, 48, 5534. DOI: