Exploiting π- π Interactions to Design an Efficient Sorbent for Atrazine Removal from Water

Isil Akpinar, Riki J. Drout, Timur Islamoglu, Satoshi Kato, Jiafei Lyu, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes atrazine, a commonly used herbicide, as an endocrine disrupting compound. Excessive use of this agrochemical results in contamination of surface and ground water supplies via agricultural runoff. Efficient removal of atrazine from contaminated water supplies is paramount. Here, the mechanism governing atrazine adsorption in Zr 6 -based metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) has been thoroughly investigated by studying the effects of MOF linkers and topology on atrazine uptake capacity and uptake kinetics. We found that the mesopores of NU-1000 facilitated rapid atrazine uptake saturating in <5 min and that the pyrene-based linkers offered sufficient sites for π- π interactions with atrazine as demonstrated by the near 100% uptake. Without the presence of a pyrene-based linker, NU-1008, a MOF similar to NU-1000 with respect to surface area and pore size, removed <20% of the exposed atrazine. These results suggest that the atrazine uptake capacity demonstrated by NU-1000 stems from the presence of a pyrene core in the MOF linker, affirming that π- π stacking is responsible for driving atrazine adsorption. Furthermore, NU-1000 displays an exceptional atrazine removal capacity through three cycles of adsorption-desorption. Powder X-ray diffraction and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area analysis confirmed the retention of MOF crystallinity and porosity throughout the adsorption-desorption cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • adsorption
  • adsorption mechanism
  • atrazine
  • metal-organic frameworks
  • π - π interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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