Development of recyclable multifunctional MOFs for Organic Synthesis

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Chemistry


This project is in the area of catalysis. It uses techniques from materials chemistry, catalysis, and organic synthesis. Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are porous materials built up from metal ions or inorganic clusters linked by organic anions, such as carboxylates. The materials have been studied from a viewpoint of many applications, one of them being as catalysts. Since they are porous and well-defined, MOFs offer some advantages over some materials used as heterogeneous catalysts such as polymers. In addition, some MOFs have well-defined Lewis-acidic catalytic sites than can promote various reactions. The power of MOF catalysts increases significantly if other more complex catalysts can be contained within the MOf structure.
The installation of molecular catalysts into MOFs typically requires multistep functionalisation of their organic linkers, or in some cases pre-synthesis of linkers containing catalysts or protected ligands that become incorporated into the forming MOF. This latter approach prevents catalyst tuning (rather than synthesising another related linker and hoping it will form the same MOF). Catalyst tuning is fundamental to providing synthetically and commercially useful catalysts, rather than proof of concepts. This project utilises a new method to take intact MOFs and to functionalised them with molecular catalysts. In this way a new generation of materials that have multiple catalytic functionalities can be made. These will be used to solve problems in the catalytic organic synthesis of building blocks used to make pharmaceuticals. It is envisaged that multiple catalytic sites will perform multiple functions enabling new sequential or tandem processes to be developed. The performance of the catalysts will be quantified, so that rational design becomes possible as the project evolved.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/T51746X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2024
2449094 Studentship EP/T51746X/1 26/09/2020 25/09/2024 Soneni Ndlovu