Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Chemical architects' build materials with potential applications in drug delivery and gas storage

18.06.2013
Home remodelers understand the concept of improving original foundations with more modern elements.

Using this same approach—but with chemistry—researchers in the University of Pittsburgh's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences have designed a family of materials that could make drug delivery, gas storage, and gas transport more efficient and at a lower cost. The findings were reported in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

The recent work builds upon Pitt Associate Professor of Chemistry Nathaniel Rosi's earlier research published last year in Nature Communications detailing a new class of metal-organic frameworks—crystalline compounds consisting of metal vertices and organic linkers that form porous structures. Last year, Rosi and his team created one of the most porous materials known at the time by changing the size of the vertex (the metal cluster) rather than the length of the organic linkers. Now, in JACS, he and his team have extended those linkers, demonstrating a family of materials even more porous—a property necessary for more efficient gas storage.

"We like to think of ourselves as chemical architects," said Rosi, principal investigator of the project. "Our approach always starts with thinking about structure and, in particular, how we can design and manipulate structure. Here, we demonstrate one of the most porous families of metal-organic frameworks known."

Rosi likens his work to that of a builder remodeling a child's chair. As the child grows taller, the legs of the chair become too short. Because the owner likes the structure and integrity of the chair, the owner decides to lengthen its legs instead of purchasing a new one. This is what Rosi and his team have done with their frameworks: they have used one material as a structural blueprint and replaced another element (the organic linkers) to prepare more porous materials.

In addition to their utility for gas storage, these porous materials could be critical for low-cost industrial separations—when one molecule is separated from another batch of molecules for purification purposes. The petrochemical industry has numerous high-value (and high-cost) separations used to isolate important chemicals involved with oil refining. Some of these separations could benefit from the use of porous materials as filters, said Rosi. Likewise, he notes that the pore size for his class of materials would be particularly useful for separating nanoparticles. Porosity also can affect the efficiency of pharmaceutical delivery into the human body.

An important metric for evaluating the porosity of a material is its pore volume. In Rosi's demonstration, three of these materials have pore volumes exceeding 4 cubic centimeters per gram (cc/g). For perspective, only one other metal-organic framework has a pore volume above this amount, with most others having volumes below 3 cc/g.

"Pore volume is a measure of how empty or vacant a material is—how much space in the material isn't filled," said Rosi. "When the pore openings are large, and the pore volume is large, it opens up the possibility of using the material as a scaffold to precisely organize and position biomolecules or nanoparticles in space."

Rosi and his team are currently investigating high-porous and low-density materials to be used as scaffolds for organizing large molecules and nanoparticles into functional materials.

Rosi's team members include Tao Li, a Pitt graduate student studying chemistry and the lead researcher on the project, along with Pitt undergraduate chemistry students Mark T. Kozlowski and Evan A. Doud, and Chatham University chemistry undergraduate student Maike N. Blakely.

The paper, "Stepwise Ligand Exchange for the Preparation of a Family of Mesoporous MOFs," was first published online May 20 in JACS. A portion of the work was performed with funding from the National Energy Technology Laboratory's Regional University Alliance (NETL-RUA), a collaborative initiative of NETL. The authors also credit Pitt's Petersen Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering and the Swanson School of Engineering's Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science for the use of their instruments.

B. Rose Huber | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pitt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Glycosylation: Mapping Uncharted Territory
21.09.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Glycosylation: Mapping Uncharted Territory

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?

21.09.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>