Special Issue: Functionalization chemistry of porous materials

Chemists are naturally more interested in what is there rather than what is not. We are spontaneously drawn to the chemical core of compounds and materials: the atoms, the ways in which they are connected and their interactions with electromagnetic radiation, other atoms/molecules or even biological systems. However, when it comes to porous materials we are less concerned about the atoms themselves rather the spaces between them (the “chemistry beyond matter”).

The goal of the special issue „Functionalization chemistry of porous materials“ that we did in Advanced Functional Materials 2020, 30 (41), Special Issue: Functionalization Chemistry of Porous Materials is to critically review the functionalization chemistry of important porous materials in order to give the reader a fresh perspective that would stimulate them to build on the past and shape the future.

The spirit of all contributions is to push the frontiers of knowledge and stimulate the minds of the next generation. Besides all the advantages of the functionalization chemistry of each considered porous material, emerging challenges are also discussed in order to stimulate research commitment that will lead to future steps towards improving society at large. With all these efforts the authors lay the foundation of new breakthroughs in this field and for this I am sincerely grateful. I am blessed and grateful that I did this special issue with the strong support of Stefano Canossa (University of Antwerp), Zhe Ji (Stanford University) and Andrea Boari who did the superb cover artwork (see below).

Finally, yet importantly, I would like to thank the whole editorial board of Advanced Functional Materials, especially Marc Zastrow, for their strong support.

This cover artwork is a dual tribute crossing science and art. The viewer is transported inside a porous crystal, where virtual fragments representing intuitions and deductions of scientists are attracted to the pores’ centres by the force of creativity. Here, the light of understanding fuses these fragments and generates the infinitely diverse products of synthetic chemistry. The style of the material’s architecture is inspired to the iconic lithograph “Cubic space division ” by M. C. Escher , whose geometrical art masterpieces inspired generations of crystallographers and structural scientists since their early academic education.