A spoonful of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a splash of alcohol – those are the ingredients used by scientists to generate a new class of robust nanoporous metal–organic frameworks.
However, the sugar is not ordinary table sugar, but ã-cyclodextrin, produced from biorenewable cornstarch. As Fraser Stoddart and a team of scientists from Northwestern University in Evanston (IL, USA), the University of California in Los Angeles (USA), and the University of St. Andrews (UK) report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this simple recipe could be the basis for a new class of biocompatible porous crystals made of renewable natural products.
Metal–organic frameworks (MOF) are well-ordered, lattice-like crystals. The nodes of the lattices are complexes of transition metals (such as copper, zinc, nickel, or cobalt); organic molecules make up the connections between the nodes. Within their pores, the MOFs can store gases such as hydrogen or carbon dioxide. Furthermore, they can be used for separation of materials, for catalysis, or for the targeted transport of drugs in the body. Most previously prepared MOFs are made of building blocks that stem from petrochemicals. Stoddart and his team set themselves a challenge to synthesize MOFs from natural products. “The problem is that natural building blocks are generally not symmetrical,” according to Stoddart, “this lack of symmetry seems to prevent them from crystallizing as highly ordered, porous frameworks.”
ã-Cyclodextrin provided the solution to this problem: it comprises eight asymmetrical glucose residues arranged in ring, which is itself symmetrical. In many countries (for example the USA and Japan), cyclodextrins are approved for use as food additives. The second ingredient in the frameworks is an alkali metal salt. Suitable candidates include ordinary table salt (sodium chloride), the common salt substitute potassium chloride, or potassium benzoate, an approved preservative. These ingredients are dissolved in water and then crystallized by vapor diffusion with an alcohol. It is even possible to use commercially available sources such as grain alcohol. “These ingredients are all substances that can be obtained cheaply, in high quality, and of food-grade purity,” says Stoddart.
The resulting crystals consist of cubes made from six ã-cyclodextrin molecules that are linked in three dimensions by potassium ions. These cubes are perfectly arranged to form a porous framework with easily accessible pores. “This arrangement is a previously unknown one,” says Stoddart. “The pore volume encompasses 54% of the solid body.” Particularly atypical of porous materials is the fact that when dissolved in water, the framework simply dissociates back to its components, which can then be crystallized again with alcohol. Says Stoddart: “In this way a degraded framework can easily be recycled or regenerated.”
Author: J. Fraser Stoddart, Northwestern University, Evanston (USA), http://stoddart.northwestern.edu/
Title: Metal-Organic Frameworks from Edible Natural Products
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201002343
Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System
Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences