Taming defects in nanoporous materials to put them to a good use

phys.org | 8/8/2018 | Staff
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The word "defect" universally evokes some negative, undesirable feature, but researchers at the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) at Swansea University have a different opinion: in the realm of nanoporous materials, defects can be put to a good use, if one knows how to tame them.

A team led by Dr. Marco Taddei, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Fellow at Swansea University, is investigating how the properties of metal-organic frameworks, a class of materials resembling microscopic sponges, can be adjusted by taking advantage of their defects to make them better at capturing CO2.

Dr - Taddei - Frameworks - MOFs - Materials

Dr. Taddei said: "Metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, are extremely interesting materials because they are full of empty space that can be used to trap and contain gases. In addition, their structure can be manipulated at the atomic level to make them selective to certain gases, in our case CO2."

"MOFs containing the element zirconium are special, in the sense that they can withstand the loss of many linkages without collapsing. We see these defects as an attractive opportunity to play with the properties of the material."

Researchers - Defects - Part - Process - Exchange

The researchers went on to investigate how defects take part in a process known as "post-synthetic exchange", a two-step procedure whereby a MOF is initially synthesized and then modified through exchange of some components of its structure. They studied the phenomenon in real time using nuclear magnetic resonance, a common characterization technique in chemistry. This allowed them to understand the role of defects during the process.

The new study appears in the high impact international journal Angewandte Chemie.

Defects - Sites - Structure - MOF - Modification

"We found that defects are very reactive sites within the structure of the MOF, and that their modification affects the property of the material in a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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