Magnetically recyclable nanocomposites via lanthanide-based MOFs grown on natural sea sponge: Screening hydrogenation of nitrophenol to aminophenol

Kaiqiang Zhang, Jaehyun Kim, Kent O. Kirlikovali, Jinghan Wang, Tae Hyung Lee, Soo Young Kim, Rajender S. Varma*, Ho Won Jang, Omar K. Farha, Mohammadreza Shokouhimehr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Catalysts have played a significant role in chemical industries and received significant attention as a result. Unfortunately, many common catalytic systems are comprised of a small number of elemental species or use similar synthetic strategies, which potentially limit innovation in areas such as the discovery of new transformations. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have been established as versatile materials employed in various applications that include catalysis; however, the majority of MOFs have been synthesized using transition metal building blocks, possibly hindering advances towards innovative materials with unique properties. This work reports the synthesis of MOFs based on lanthanide elements (Ln = Ce, Gd, La, and Sm), which demonstrate great potential yet are often overlooked. The Ln-based MOFs were grown in situ on natural sea sponge supports and Fe ion containing solution, followed by a thermal carbonization treatment to generate FeLn metal nanoparticles (NPs) embedded on carbon support (FeLn@C). These nanostructured products exhibited good crystallinity and well-confined particle sizes. We then demonstrate that these hybrid materials can be used as effective heterogeneous nanocatalysts for the hydrogenation of nitrophenol to aminophenol in aqueous media. Besides, FeLn@C catalysts had a magnetic property due to Fe atoms in the NPs, which can be mechanically separated out from the aqueous solution since the catalysts are magnetically attracted to the external magnets. This magnetic recyclability combined with the usage of the natural materials highlight the importance of sustainability in the design of Ln-based MOFs and their catalytic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112459
JournalMolecular Catalysis
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Anilines
  • Heterogeneous nanocatalyst
  • Hydrogenation
  • Natural material
  • Nitroarenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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