Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a sub-class of coordination polymers in which organic struts are joined with inorganic nodes to form an ordered array. The inorganic nodes cosist 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.