Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The spectacular diversity of nanoporous crystals

05.01.2016

Scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Universität Leipzig have discovered a unique behavior in the transport of molecules in nanoporous materials. They disproved the validity of a decades-old unquestioned assumption and demonstrated that each individual nanoporous crystal behaves differently. This finding may radically alter future research in the field, as current conventional techniques are based on this invalid assumption. The fruits of this international collaboration have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Materials.

Nanoporous materials, like zeolites or metal-organic frameworks, contain pores with a size of less than one millionth of a (milli-)meter, in which molecules can be stored or converted into other molecules.

They are of great importance for our society, finding widespread applications, for example as environment-friendly catalysts to accelerate the chemical conversion of molecules into useful products, (and) as molecular sponges in the purification of gases and liquids, for CO2 capture or even in medical applications.

The development and improvement of such practical applications crucially depends on the understanding of the mechanisms of molecular transport within the nanopores. The rate of chemical reactions in these nanopores is largely controlled by the transport rate.

Since nanoporous crystals are constructed from identical building blocks, researchers have always believed that the mechanism and rate of molecular transport is identical for different crystals of the same family.

In their research towards the sustainable recovery and purification of bio-alcohols as an alternative for chemicals derived from petroleum, the team of Prof. Joeri Denayer and Dr. Julien Cousin-Saint-Remi (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) joined forces with the group of Professor Jörg Kärger (Universität Leipzig), to obtain fundamental insight in the transport mechanisms of alcohol molecules in the SAPO-34 nanoporous solid.

By means of advanced micro-imaging techniques, developed by Prof. Jörg Kärger, it could be visualized how alcohol molecules are migrating through individual crystals. For the first time, it was demonstrated that the transport rate varies with orders of magnitude amongst seemingly identical crystals.

This observation not only sheds a whole new light on conflicting or inconsistent results that were reported previously, but it is also of large importance with respect to the development of more efficient chemical processes.

The classical methods to study molecular transport only allow characterizing the average behavior of a large amount of crystals, which could potentially lead to erroneous conclusions with respect to the transport mechanism and material properties.

The results of this joint work may help other researchers to better understand diffusion mechanisms in nanoporous materials. The detailed study of individual crystals will contribute to the development of new and better materials.

The publication with original title “The role of crystal diversity in understanding mass transfer in nanoporous materials” can be found online on the website of the journal Nature Materials: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat4510.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Julien Cousin-Saint-Remi
Department of Chemical Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Elsene, Belgium
+32.2.629.33.18
jcousins@vub.ac.be

Prof. Joeri F.M. Denayer
Department of Chemical Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Elsene, Belgium
+32.2.629.17.98
joeri.denayer@vub.ac.be

Prof. Jörg Kärger
Fakultät für Physik und Geowissenschaften, Universität Leipzig
Linnéstrasse 5, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
+49.341.97.32502
kaerger@physik.uni-leipzig.de

Prof. Jürgen Haase
Fakultät für Physik und Geowissenschaften, Universität Leipzig
Linnéstrasse 5, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
+49.341.97.32601
j.haase@physik.uni-leipzig.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmat4510.html

Susann Huster | Universität Leipzig
Further information:
http://www.uni-leipzig.de

Further reports about: crystals nanopores nanoporous materials purification

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments
18.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik

nachricht How does a molecule vibrate when you “touch” it?
17.04.2018 | Universität Regensburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

Im Focus: Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning

The Atlantic overturning – one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards – is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature data analysis provides new evidence that this major ocean circulation has slowed down by roughly 15 percent since the middle of the 20th century, according to a study published in the highly renowned journal Nature by an international team of scientists. Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations.

“We detected a specific pattern of ocean cooling south of Greenland and unusual warming off the US coast – which is highly characteristic for a slowdown of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Improved stability of plastic light-emitting diodes

19.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics

19.04.2018 | Life Sciences

New capabilities at NSLS-II set to advance materials science

18.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>