Preparation and Applications of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs): A Laboratory Activity and Demonstration for High School and/or Undergraduate Students

by Sakamaki, Yoshie; Tsuji, Miu; Heidrick, Zachary; Watson, Olivia; Durchman, Jeremy; Salmon, Christopher; Burgin, Stephen R.; Beyzavi, M. Hassan


The chemistry of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a new class of emerging crystalline porous solids with three-dimensional (3D) networks composed of metals and multidentate organic molecules, was introduced by using three differently shaped crystals. We reported new and mild MOF synthesis methods that are simple and devised to be performed in high school or primarily undergraduate school settings. MOF applications were demonstrated by use of our synthesized MOFs in the capture of iodine as a potentially hazardous molecule from solution and as a drug delivery system. These applications can be visually confirmed in minutes. Students can gain knowledge on advanced topics, such as drug delivery systems, through these easy-to-prepare MOFs. Furthermore, students can gain an understanding of powder X-ray analysis and ultraviolet-visible near-infrared spectroscopy. This laboratory experience is practical, including synthesis and application of MOFs. The entire experiment has also been recorded as an educational video posted on YouTube as a free public medium for students to watch and learn. In this paper we first report the steps we took to synthesize and analyze the MOFs, followed by a description of a simple demonstration that we verified to effectively exhibit adsorption by MOFs. We conclude with a description of how the laboratory activity and demonstration were implemented in an undergraduate chemistry laboratory.

Journal of Chemical Education
Start Page
0021-9584; 1938-1328