In the past decade, research efforts in porous materials have exploded as several industries have realized that the porosity of a material holds the key to overcoming critical technological barriers. Examples include many of the most pressing challenges of the modern time, such as sustainable energy production, energy storage, water purification, and controlled drug delivery. Porous materials are of high interest in these fields because of their ability to interact intensely with their surroundings through their enormous internal surface area.
Our focus lies in synthesizing porous frameworks by selecting their building blocks, i.e. the atomic or molecular constituents, and developing the chemistry required to assemble them in an engineered way. Specifically, we focus on the synthesis of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) through reticular chemistry where molecular building blocks, e.g. organic molecules and inorganic clusters, are linked into extended structures (figure). This chemistry allows us to translate the high functionality of molecules into solids without losing the precision needed for making useful functional materials.