Work published in Nature Communications highlights important advances in the field
A team of University of Houston (UH) chemistry researchers have developed a molecule that assembles spontaneously into a lightweight structure with microscopic pores capable of binding large quantities of several potent greenhouse gases.
From left to right, chemists Allan Jacobson, Ognjen Miljanić and Olafs Daugulis developed porous molecules that bind greenhouse gases.
Credit: Chris Watts
"Greenhouse gases, such a carbon dioxide, have received much attention lately because of their potential to dramatically affect Earth's climate, primarily the temperature of the planet," said Ognjen Miljanić, a UH associate professor of chemistry and leader of the team.
While carbon dioxide presents the biggest problem, Miljanić notes that several other compounds are hundreds or thousands of times more potent in their greenhouse effect per unit of mass. These compounds include Freons, used as common refrigerants, and fluorocarbons, highly stable organic compounds in which one or more hydrogen atoms have been replaced with fluorine.
"We developed a molecule that self-assembles into a structure that can capture these greenhouse vapors to the tune of 75 percent by weight," Miljanić said. "This molecule could be used to capture Freons from disposed refrigeration systems, for example, or to concentrate them prior to analysis of their content."
In their recent paper in Nature Communications, Miljanić and his colleagues report that a small molecule based on an extensively fluorinated backbone will form a structure with extremely small pores about 1.6 nanometers in diameter. Members of the team included Miljanić and professors Allan Jacobson and Olafs Daugulis, all from UH's Department of Chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
"These tiny pores are lined with fluorine atoms, giving them a high affinity for other molecules containing fluorine - such as fluorocarbons and Freons," Miljanić said.
Porous materials with similar pore sizes have been developed in previous studies, but those materials were often heavy, because of the presence of metals, as well as sensitive to water and difficult to process and recycle.
"The advantages of the current material is that it is stable to water and composed from individual molecules held together only by weak interactions," Miljanić said. "This latter feature makes this material lightweight, because there are no metal connectors."
The weak interactions between the molecules can be broken when needed, so the molecule can be recycled or deposited on a surface. The molecule is stable to 280 degrees Celsius.
In this international collaboration, UH researchers worked with Yu-Sheng Chen from the University of Chicago and Yu-Chun Chuang from the Taiwan National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center. A provisional patent based on this work has been filed.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,900 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university's newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/ .
About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with 193 ranked faculty and nearly 6,000 students, offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, earth and atmospheric sciences, mathematics and physics conduct internationally recognized research in collaboration with industry, Texas Medical Center institutions, NASA and others worldwide.
To receive UH science news via email, sign up for UH-SciNews at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/mailing-lists/sciencelistserv/index.php .
Lisa Merkl | EurekAlert!
Researchers reveal new details on aged brain, Alzheimer's and dementia
21.11.2017 | Allen Institute
Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development
21.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.11.2017 | Health and Medicine