Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

From separation to transformation: Metal-organic framework shows new talent

Date:
May 22, 2014
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Measurements show why a material already known to be good at separating components of natural gas also can do something trickier: help convert one chemical to another, a process called catalysis. The discovery is a rare example of a laboratory-made material easily performing a task that biology usually requires a complex series of steps to accomplish.

This iron-based metal-organic framework (large structure) can catalyze a reaction that transforms ethane (gray and light blue molecules) into pure ethanol (light blue, red and gray). Scientists think the framework could help reveal ways to mimic other biological functions.
Credit: NIST

This gift from science just keeps on giving. Measurements taken at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) show why a material already known to be good at separating components of natural gas also can do something trickier: help convert one chemical to another, a process called catalysis. The discovery is a rare example of a laboratory-made material easily performing a task that biology usually requires a complex series of steps to accomplish.

The material is a metal-organic framework (MOF), one of a class of substances whose porosity, high surface area and tunable properties make them promising for applications such as gas storage and drug delivery. This particular iron-based MOF, which the research team refers to as Fe-MOF-74,was built in the lab of Jeffrey Long, a professor of chemistry at the University of California Berkeley, who also has patented it.

Having learned two years ago that Fe-MOF-74 could effectively separate closely related components of natural gas from one another, this time Long's collaborators at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) looked at its power to catalyze reactions -- that is, accelerate or enable the chemical reaction of two other materials. In this case, they turned ethane,a component of natural gas, into ethanol, a component of vodka. The research team knew that the iron in the MOF could change from possessing one number of electrons to another, which raised interesting questions.

"One of the big long-term goals of biochemistry is to build things with specific functions from the ground up," says the NCNR's Craig Brown. "It's hard to simply make things like nature does, because she often converts one material into another in a fiendishly complex way. But with a MOF that can mimic nature's effect, we might be able to make the same thing, but right in the lab and far more easily."

While the MOF was great at catalyzing the reaction, the team wasn't sure why. The search for understanding led to two (fairly technical)discoveries at the NCNR: the importance of the MOF's iron for catalysis, and the reason the oxidizer worked so well.

Iron being able to change its number of electrons is the key to creating a high-yield catalytic process. When the team substituted magnesium for 10 percent of the iron in the MOF, the reaction produced 40 percent less ethanol than before. The NCNR's neutron diffractometer helped clarify why, and they also showed that the oxidizer -- nitrous oxide, a lopsided molecule with oxygen at one end and two nitrogen atoms at the other -- must connect its oxygen end to the iron in the MOF for catalysis to occur.

Brown says exploring the catalytic behavior in this material may reveal other ways to use MOFs to mimic what biology can do. "We hope to get more insights into the reactivity of this material and possibly the design, synthesis and catalytic activities of other MOFs," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dianne J. Xiao, Eric D. Bloch, Jarad A. Mason, Wendy L. Queen, Matthew R. Hudson, Nora Planas, Joshua Borycz, Allison L. Dzubak, Pragya Verma, Kyuho Lee, Francesca Bonino, Valentina Crocellΰ, Junko Yano, Silvia Bordiga, Donald G. Truhlar, Laura Gagliardi, Craig M. Brown, Jeffrey R. Long. Oxidation of ethane to ethanol by N2O in a metal–organic framework with coordinatively unsaturated iron(II) sites. Nature Chemistry, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1956

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "From separation to transformation: Metal-organic framework shows new talent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522115758.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2014, May 22). From separation to transformation: Metal-organic framework shows new talent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522115758.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "From separation to transformation: Metal-organic framework shows new talent." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522115758.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 16, 2014) — Japanese researcher uses an eye-sensor camera to enable a bipedal robot to balance itself, while running on a treadmill. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) — Lockheed Martin announced plans to develop the first-ever compact nuclear fusion reactor. But some experts said the excitement is a little premature. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) — A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) — The American Chemical Society’s latest video about chemistry in every day life breaks down pizza, and explains exactly why it's so delicious. Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) has the video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins