Preparation of New Crystalline Porous Solids

Materials and nanotechnology

Project Description

CENCEA is currently pursuing the development of the next generation of porous, crystalline materials: metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), covalent-organic frameworks (COFs), and zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs). Through this pursuit, CENCEA researchers are putting the principles of reticular chemistry to work, in which MOFs, COFs, and ZIFs are being designed in order to achieve solutions for outstanding challenges in renewable and clean energy. One of the latest discoveries made through the CENCEA partnership was the realization of a woven framework – a material previously unseen by the world (pictured to the right).

The project aims to innovate in different classes of nanomaterials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), covalent-organic frameworks (COFs), and zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) to develop solutions for challenges in renewable and clean energy. These nanomaterials have high surface areas (2,000- 10,000 m²/g) with unique chemical, physical and mechanical properties. In this project, our team is developing nanomaterials that are used in advanced applications


  • Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs): stitching together transition metal and main group ions with organic molecular building units to form extended, crystalline frameworks
  • Multivariate (MTV) MOFs: to assemble MOF structures from links with different functional groups whose orientation, number, relative position, and ratio along the backbone can be controlled by virtue of the unchanged length of the link and its unaltered connectivity
  • Covalent organic frameworks: assembly of organic building units held together by strong covalent bonds and light elements
  • Woven frameworks: the interlacing of 1D units to make 2D and 3D structures, which have many more degrees of freedom for enormous spatial deviations, by each of the threads, to take place independently and still preserve the underlying topology. Such freedom may enable reversible control over the mechanical properties of materials.
  • Heterogeneity within order: creating, by design, more complex MOF structures by either mixing of organic linkers within the MOF backbone; b) mixing of the metal-containing secondary building units (SBUs); c) mixing of both the SBUs and organic linkers within the same MOF backbone; d) mixing of functional groups along the backbone; e) MOFs with random and ordered defects; f) attaching MOFs to functional surfaces; g) combining inorganic nanocrystals and MOFs; or  h) MOFs with heterogeneous pores.

Project Team Members

List of publication