Are you using the right probe molecules for assessing the textural properties of metal-organic frameworks?

Timur Islamoglu, Karam B. Idrees, Florencia A. Son, Zhijie Chen, Seung Joon Lee, Peng Li, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Textural properties—such as the surface area, pore size distribution, and pore volume—are at the forefront of characterization for porous materials. Therefore, it is essential to accurately and reproducibly report a material's textural properties as they could ultimately dictate its applicability. This work aims to provide insightful and comprehensive studies of textural properties for a set of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a class of porous materials, using various gases to equip researchers in the field with a helpful guide and reference. We selected a series of nine MOFs with different surface areas, pore sizes, shapes, and chemical environments to represent a wide range of materials. We probed the textural properties of these MOFs using traditional and distinctive gases: N2, Kr and O2at 77 K, Ar at 87 K, and CO2at 195 and 273 K. With regard to surface area, we discuss the validity and challenges associated with the current BET method, the importance of utilizing the Rouquerolet al.consistency criteria to ensure accuracy and reproducibility, and the recommended gas probes for certain materials. For pore size distribution, we discuss the efficacy of each probe for determining the pore sizes within a porous material relative to the calculated distribution from its crystal structure, the limitations of current computational kernels used to calculate pore size distributions, and the need for advanced kernels to envelope the diversity of porous materials. Finally, for pore volume, we discuss the use of the Gurvich rule to obtain the total pore volume in comparison with calculated values from crystal structures and its consistency as a metric for porous materials. Ultimately, we hope that this article will aid researchers in characterizing the textural properties of porous materials and encourage the development of new kernels capable of encompassing the complexity of MOFs and other porous materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-173
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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