Growth of ZnO self-converted 2D nanosheet zeolitic imidazolate framework membranes by an ammonia-assisted strategy

Yujia Li, Lu Lin, Min Tu, Pei Nian, Ashlee J. Howarth, Omar K. Farha, Jieshan Qiu, Xiongfu Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Shaping crystalline porous materials such as metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and zeolites into two-dimensional (2D) nanosheet forms is highly desirable for developing high-performance molecular sieving membranes. However, conventional exfoliation–deposition is complex and challenging for the large-scale fabrication of nanosheet MOF tubular membranes. Here, for the first time, we report a direct growth technique by ZnO self-conversion and ammonia assistance to fabricate zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF) membranes consisting of 2D nanosheets on porous hollow fiber substrates; the membranes are suitable for large-scale industrial gas separation processes. The proposed fabrication process for ZIF nanosheet membranes is based on the localized self-conversion of a pre-deposited thin layer of ZnO in a ligand solution containing ammonium hydroxide as a modulator. The resulting ZIF 2D nanosheet tubular membrane is highly oriented and only 50 nm in thickness. It exhibits excellent molecular sieving performance, with high H2 permeance and selectivity for H2/CO2 separation. This technique shows great promise in MOF nanosheet membrane fabrication for large-scale molecular sieving applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1850-1860
Number of pages11
JournalNano Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • gas separation
  • metal organic framework membrane
  • nanosheet
  • nanosheet membrane
  • oriented growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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