Flexible molecular spaces as sensors and catalysts
Humboldt laureate Susumu Kitagawa visits RUB
Co-operation with RUB Chemistry is projected
In order to project a co-operation with RUB-chemistry, Professor Susumu Kitagawa is visiting the Ruhr-University from 25 September to 5 October. Kitagawa is a leading expert in the field of highly porous inorganic-organic hybrid materials – “MOFs”. Only recently, he has won a Humboldt Research Award, worth 60,000 Euro, for his lifetime achievements by the Alexander von Humboldt foundation. The co-operation with RUB will be on ultra thin functional layers of MOFs on surfaces (SURMOFs). At the chemistry department of Kyoto University in Japan he investigates molecular adsorption phenomena in the context of the hydrogen and methane storage as energy sources. Susumu Kitagawa will give a seminar talk entitled as “Design of Functional Porous Coordination Polymers“ on Tuesday September 30th, at 11:15 (NC 5/99).
Less is more – chemical minimalism
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s (1886-1969) minimalist approach of control and fuctionalization of space counts among the basic principles of modern architecture. In his “skin and bone”-concept he structured space through a framework of steel (bone) and flat glass (skin). His slogan “less is more” is fitting for a new class of chemicals: Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are profoundly open structures and as such the nano-analogue to Mies van der Rohe’s buildings.
In contrast to other porous substances, MOFs are soft materials. The structures of the inner surfaces, cavities and holes, rifts and channels in these extended and often quite complex periodic frameworks thus do not have to be firm and inflexible. Moreover, it gets extremely fascinating when the framework, comparable to a sponge, reversibly responds to chemical or physical stimuli. The discovery and systematic investigation of the potential of the dynamic properties of MOFs and the use of coordination space to probe systems chemistry phenomena controlled by interfaces is Susumu Kitagawa’s outstanding contribution to the development of this new field of materials chemistry.
SURMOFs and CATMOFs
The production of homogeneous thin films of MOFs on surfaces (SURMOFs) is important for a wide range of applications, e.g. as sensors, intelligent membranes and for electronic devices. A “hot” topic in this field will be frameworks “switchable” through electric or magnetic fields or by exposure to light. MOFs do also have an enormous potential for catalysis (CATMOFs) which is thoroughly investigated within the Collaborative Research Centre “Heterogeneous Catalysis” (Project B1 in SFB 558, http://www.sfb558.de). The embedding of nano metals inside MOFs, developed at the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry II, has attracted world-wide interest. In co-operation with Prof. Kitagawa, the SURMOFs and CATMOFs will be further developed. The new research department “Interfacial Systems Chemistry (IFSC)” - currently under development - will offer the ideal environment for that.