High-throughput Synthesis of Metal-Organic Frameworks

Project: Research project

Project Details


The ability to selectively sorb and/or catalytically deactivate chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) represents an important challenge in chemical threat protection. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) offer a potentially intriguing solution to this challenge. Nevertheless, MOFs are typically synthesized in high boiling point organic solvents (most commonly in DMF, DEF and DMSO) at or above 100 °C. These harsh conditions can hinder techno-economic access to materials of interest, such as enzyme/MOF composites, MOF/fiber composites, and large-scale production of MOFs. Our awarded ARO proposal “Towards Design Rules for the Synthesis of Functional Metal–Organic Frameworks in Aqueous Media at Ambient Temperature for Targeted Applications” aims to understand the design rules for achieving highly crystalline functional and robust MOFs in aqueous media at room temperature. However, the current procedure for screening the parameters involves manual preparation of individual reactions vials which is highly time consuming. Hence we are requesting supplemental funding to acquire a synthesis robot that is capable of analytical weighing, barcode reading, sorting, diluting, vortex mixing, heating, un-capping and re-capping, transferring, and aliquoting. If funded, the acquisition of this instrument will facilitate and rapidly enhance materials discovery and elucidation of design rules for the synthesis of MOFs in water at ambient temperature. Importantly, this in turn will have a direct impact on Northwestern’s ability to educate students not only in defense research, but also much more broadly with regards to porous materials synthesis and characterization. These aspects of materials discovery and characterization are directly relevant to disciplines important to DoDs missions.
Effective start/end date2/1/211/31/22


  • Army Research Office (W911NF-21-1-0020)


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