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Functional Metal-Organic Frameworks: Gas Sorption, Separation, and Heterogeneous Catalysis

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Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a type of porous materials built by bridging organic linkers and inorganic units (metal ions or clusters), having an internal pore space with tunable geometry (pore shape and dimension) and chemical functionality. This tunable and modifiable pore system enables various ...

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a type of porous materials built by bridging organic linkers and inorganic units (metal ions or clusters), having an internal pore space with tunable geometry (pore shape and dimension) and chemical functionality. This tunable and modifiable pore system enables various applications in MOFs based on specific host-guest interactions. For instance, special interactions between frameworks and gaseous molecules can lead to high adsorption capacities for hydrogen, methane, or carbon dioxide, and high separation performance for mixtures such as C2, C3, and C4 hydrocarbons. MOFs can also be utilized as catalysts as well as catalyst supports for the production of completing catalytic systems for various organic transformations including C––C coupling reactions, hydrogenation, and energy-related electrocatalysis.

Compared to their homogeneous counterparts, MOF catalysts have the advantage of chemical tunibility: easy control of the pore size allows for optimized mass transport to facilitate the catalytic process. Also, the internal pore chemistry can be modified for specific catalytic functionality. There are several ways to develop an efficient MOF catalyst:

 1. synthesizing MOFs with coordinatively unsaturated metal sites that can act as Lewis acidic sites
 2. Post-modification of the organic part of MOFs by including catalytically active species
 3. Impregnating catalytic guest molecules, ions, or metal nanoparticles within the pores of MOFs
 4. Constructing MOFs with catalytic organic linkers (such porphyrin-containing linkers)
 5. Using chiral organic linkers to synthesize chiral MOFs for enantioselective catalysis
 6. Controlled pyrolysis of MOFs under varying conditions also produces novel functional porous transition metal oxides or carbonaceous materials for enhanced activity.

We welcome contributions in this Research Topic covering MOFs in applications for gas adsorption, separation, and heterogeneous catalysis. These include but are not limited to:

  • synthesizing novel MOF structures;
  • novel methods for the design of MOF adsorbents and catalysts;
  • MOF catalysts applied in novel catalytic processes;
  • theoretical studies for better understanding the catalytic mechanisms in MOF catalysts


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