We are interested in the properties and applications of lego-like porous materials that can be obtained by means of reticular chemistry principles. Below we highlight some of our current interests.

Research lines

Synthesis of metal organic frameworks

Chemical and mechanical stability of Metal/Covalent-Organic Framework is key to use these materials in practical applications. We have been able to syntheze robust metal organic porous networks using appropriate combination of metal ions and organic linkers: i.e. azolate based MOFs of late transition metal ions and carboxylate based MOFs with high valent early transition metal ions. (see e.g. N.M. Padial et al Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 8290-8294)

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Defective metal organic frameworks

Metal-organic framework has been considered for long time as highly ordered crystalline materials. However, as in many other extended materials defects play an important role in their properties. We have been able to introduce structural defects in highly robust azolate based MOFs leading to an enhancement of chemical stability, modulation of adsorptive properties as well as enhanced mobility of ionic species. The defective materials are useful for the capture of toxic molecules, gas separation and ionic conductivity (LM Rodriguez-Albelo et al. Nature communications, 2017 8 (1), 1-10 ; S. Rojas, et al, Dalton Trans. 2021, 50 (7), 2493-2500; F. Afshariazar et al, Chemistry A European Jouirnal, 2021, 27, 11837-11844 ).

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Gas separation

Separation processes are extensively used in Industry. accounting for almost 50% of industrial energy consumption on a global scale. The separation of gases or vapors with similar physicochemical properties involves distillation processes with a high energy cost. Examples include cryogenic separation of gases (e.g. Xe/Kr; N2/O2), separation of mixtures of hexane isomers for increasing octane rating of gasolines, separation of alkanes from alkenes in the preparation of plastics and separation of benzene/cyclohexane (toluene/methylcyclohexane) for their use as Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs). In many of these cases the boiling points of the molecules that make up the mixture are very similar so the separation by distillation is inefficient. Likewise, CO2 capture in order to mitigate climate change involves the use of corrosive and toxic amine solutions with a high energy penalty for regeneration of the absorbent solution. Therefore, the development of alternative separation processes capable of discriminating shape, size and/or other small physicochemical differences between the molecules in the target mixture implying a lower energy cost is of great technological interest. With this aim we are studying the possible utility of reticular chemistry for improving gas separation processes with a low energy penalty (Bury et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 44, 15031–15037; P. G. Boyd, et al. Nature, 2019, 576, 253–256W. R. Vismara et al. Nano Res. 2021,14, 532–540; F. Afshariazar et al, Chemistry A European Jouirnal, 2021, 27, 11837-11844 )

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Capture and degradation of toxic molecules

Existing technologies for pollutant remediation include precipitation, membrane technology, coagulation/flocculation, biological processes, advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) and adsorption. However, these conventional decontamination and disinfection methods suffer from high operating cost and generation of secondary pollutants and, which is more important, they are not able to completely eliminate the waste of contaminated air/water/soil. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), are characterized by a high surface area, tunable structures, and periodically distributed abundant adsorption and catalytic sites. We have been able to show that the combination of acidic Lewis sites (high valent early block d metal ions), basic sites (oxo/hydroxide) groups together with fine tuning of acid-base properties and porosity by doping with metal alcoxides/amino groups leads to materials that are able to selectively capture highly toxic molecules ranging from Chemical warfare agents (nerve agents, blister agents) to Pesticides (E. López et al, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 6790-6794; R. Gil et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 30, 11801-11805; J. Castells-Gil et al Chem, 2020, 6, 1–14R. Gil et al. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 42, 50491–50496; L Gonzalez et al. Materials Today Chemistry 22, 100596).


Drug delivery systems

Many biomedical therapies are not effective either becouse the bioactive drug is not reaching the biological target and or the concentration is higly time dependant. Consequently, there is a need for systems that are able to deliver a bioactive molecule in a continuous and/or specific manner. We are interested in developing materials that can behave as Drug delivery systems and/or vehicles for advanced biomedical applications (i.e FJ Carmona et al, Inorg. Chem. 2017, 10474; SA Noorian, et al Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 2020, 302, 110199; P. Delgado, J. D. Martin-Romera et al. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, XXXX,.

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