Perfect crystals are not necessarily the most useful. Defects in the ordered crystalline structure of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) could tailor these versatile materials for specific applications. KAUST researchers have already developed a pioneering method to image the defects using transmission electron microscopy. They now report that creating specific defects, visualizing them, and investigating their chemical effects takes the exploration of MOFs to new levels of detail and control.
MOFs contain regularly spaced metallic clusters connected by carbon-based organic linker groups. Varying the metals in the clusters and the structure of the linkers creates a huge diversity of MOFs with varying pore networks and different chemical properties. Two of the major applications MOFs are being developed for are for use as catalysts and as highly selective gas adsorption and separation materials.
MOFs are one of the hottest areas of chemical research, and KAUST scientists are hard at work to remain in the forefront. The latest advance builds on a long record of discoveries and has involved three KAUST research centers, the KAUST Core labs and collaborators in China and the UK.