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Metal-Organic Frameworks


The senate of the German Research Foundation (DFG) has decided to implement a new 6 years priority program “Porous Metal-Organic Frameworks” (SPP 1362, MOFs).

Start: August 2008

End: 2014

Midterm Evaluation: 2011

The priority program concentrates on the synthesis, the physical properties and the specific integration of functionality into Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), a new class of porous materials surpassing significantly the adsorption capacity of established materials such as activated carbons and zeolites. They are characterized by a modular construction principle allowing for a rational design of custom made pore systems. Using suitable building blocks, the integration of specific interactions for molecules inside the framework shall be realized for the storage, sensing, transformation, or separation of molecular species inside MOFs. In this way, new materials for energy storage (for example hydrogen or methane) will be constructed. For sensor materials, a change of physical properties should be used for the detection of molecules. For the chemical transformation, materials are important, having specific active catalytic sites in the framework or the pores. In all cases, the focus is to achieve a basic understanding of the interactions of the framework and the adsorbed or reacting molecules. In this context, the experimental determination of the preferred adsorption sites and the dynamics of molecules inside the pore system are crucial. For this purpose, also modeling using modern theoretic methods is needed.
In order to enhance the interdisciplinary exchange between chemists, materials scientists, physicists and engineers, generally only such projects will be funded, providing a synergistic cooperation of two or three PIs with different expertise in the following areas of competence:
  • Synthesis, structure, and reactivity of MOFs
  • Physical characterization of molecular interactions and dynamics
  • Theoretic description, simulation and modeling
  • Systems and functions

In the program, the modular construction principles of MOFs are used in a rational way for the design of porous frameworks, with functions defined by the constituting building blocks. For the analysis of adsorption, diffusion, and the reaction of guests inside MOFs, structural changes of the molecules and dynamic processes in the frameworks are monitored. Energetic states of molecules inside MOFs and their dynamics are simulated using theoretic quantum chemical calculations and MD-methods for the interpretation of analytic methods and the prediction of functions. An important issue is the application and development of spectroscopic and diffraction methods for the in situ analysis. In this way, formation mechanisms of MOFs, molecular binding sites and catalytic mechanisms in the frameworks are illuminated. By testing the functionality of MOFs, the priority program evaluates the potential of porous Metal-Organic Frameworks in the areas of storage, recognition, separation, or catalytic transformation of molecules.








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