Kyoto University researchers have developed a new approach to control the fabrication of soft, porous materials, overcoming a primary challenge in materials science.
Molecular assemblies called metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs) are leading contenders for these materials due to their interesting shapes and porosity.
But fabricating materials from these assemblies with intrinsic and controlled porosity remains a challenge.
Shuhei Furukawa of Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), with colleagues in Japan and Spain, found a way to control the synthesis of a porous gel through the self-assembly of MOPs using organic linkers.
They started with a cuboctahedral-shaped MOP formed of rhodium atoms linked with strong carboxylate bonds, which give it a high degree of structural stability.
The MOPs were placed in a liquid solvent with organic 'linker' molecules to trigger the self-assembly process .