The Research Group of Dr. Michael Katz focuses on studying porous materials.
As an example, the sponge you have in your kitchen is a porous material. The holes in your sponge are a great way for you to clean up spilled juice on the table (where you don't want it) and release the juice in your sink (where it is properly disposed of down the drain). You may not have thought about it this way, but this is one of the great features of sponges. You can easily take clean water away from your sink and bring dirty water back to your sink. This is one of the great applications of sponges!
Our research program focuses on the synthesis, properties, and applications of porous materials (like the sponge in the example above). The porous materials we work with are being designed for various applications. For example, current porous materials research includes, but is not limited to, gas storage (e.g., low-pressure methane storage), chemical separation (e.g., removal of harmful molecules from air), and catalysis.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous materials. They are also a sub-class of coordination polymers in which organic molecules (i.e., struts, linkers) are joined with metal cations (i.e., inorganic nodes) to form an ordered array. The inorganic nodes consist of cationic metal centres/clusters including, but not limited to Cu(II), Zn(II), and Zr(IV)-containing clusters. Generally, the organic struts consist of a core organic molecule (e.g., benzene, biphenyl, pyrene, or porphyrin, to name a few) in which the periphery of the core is decorated with two or more Lewis-base moieties (e.g., carboxylate, or pyridine) which promote bridging two or more inorganic nodes rather than chelation.
In MOFs, the ordered array often contains space that is not occupied by the array itself. This unused space can be used for a variety of applications including, but not limited to, gas storage and separation, catalysis, chemical sensing, ion exchange, and drug delivery.
One of the most attractive aspects of MOF synthesis is that the organic strut can be synthetically modified in order to introduce new functionality into the unused space. To that end, our research team focuses on gaining an understanding of how the size, shape, and functionality of the unused space relates back to the MOFs utility in various material properties.
Each student is given a research theme to work on. While one student's research theme may be un-related to other student's themes, the group aims to help each other out by openly discussing their successes and challenges with one another, within group meetings, or in meetings with Professor Katz.
© 2017 Michael J. Katz