An introduction to Metal Organic Frameworks

24 Sep 2014

Over the past fifteen years or so, there has been an explosion of interest in the study of porous coordination polymers, otherwise known as metal organic frameworks. A metal organic framework (MOF) is a coordination network with organic ligands containing potential voids, or pores, which make MOFs potentially useful.

SCI’s Thames & Kennet Regional Group held an event titled ‘Metal organic frameworks - a new generation of porous materials’ which was intended to look at the diverse structures, properties and potential applications of MOFs, including gas storage, catalysis and drug delivery. The lecture was delivered by Dr Andrew Burrows from the University of Bath to members and guests of SCI and the Sanger Society on the 11 September 2014.

Dr Burrows’ research centres around microporous three dimensional coordination networks with pores ranging from diameters of 2 to 20 nm. In his talk, he addressed the importance of the use of polycarboxylate linkers, which has the advantages of having a negative charge to neutralize metals to free up pore space which would otherwise be taken up by counter ions, and the flexibility and ease of changing the chain length of the isoreticular series thus altering the size of the pore. He then proceeded to talk about the applications of MOFs, such as its use in removing carbon dioxide from waste streams by a concentration gradient, and the potential of using MOFs for the slow release of drugs.

The lecture’s excellent introduction of MOF, which was for most a fresh outlook on this topic, made for an informative talk. The talk ranged from the theory of MOFs, the identification of the structure by X-ray diffraction techniques, and ways of measuring degree of porosity, to the more applied side of MOFs, such as using MOFs to store methane as a fuel in cars and separation of enantiomers in the drug industry.

SCI’s Thames & Kennet Regional Group runs a regular and active programme of events catering to both Members' and general public interests. The Group also organises a number of science theatre-in-education and lecture-demonstration tours to schools in the region. Find out more about other events organised by the Thames and Kennet Group, using the link below.

Anthony Wong
President, Sanger Society

Related Links

Image above shows crystal structure of BAF-4 with yellow and orange balls showing the pores.
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