In recent years, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) emerged as a powerful class of microporous catalytic materials with a wide range of beneficial features such as tunable porosity and chemical functionality. To improve the industrial potential and versatility of MOFs, hybrid materials containing polymers conjugated to MOFs have been developed to combine the catalytic efficiency of MOFs with the good processability and mechanical flexibility of polymers. Moreover, the polymer component can be designed to substantially suppress the hydrolytic lability of MOFs. Recently, a new approach to polymer-MOF hybrid materials has been proposed, where the MOF-forming organic ligands are connected through a flexible linear non-porous polymer. Upon the addition of a suitable metal, the originally amorphous multifunctional polymer forms a MOF framework with a high degree of crystallinity.1 Such “polyMOFs” showed excellent mechanical properties and gas sorption capacities comparable to the native polymer-free MOFs. Besides the improvement of the MOFs' physical properties, the incorporated polymer can be used as a multifunctional linker to covalently attach small organic catalysts to porous crystalline frameworks.
Within this project, we will develop novel hybrid materials for efficient cascade reaction catalysis. Such systems will employ small organic catalysts (SOC) connected to different porous crystalline scaffolds (e.g., polyMOFs) via precisely tailored multifunctional polymer linker. The polymer molecules will be designed to contain orthogonally reacting functional groups for covalent attachment of both SOCs and porous frameworks. Besides the catalysis, the synthesized hybrid polymer-porous crystalline materials will be studied for other potential applications, such as gas storage or mixed matrix membranes for gas separation.
The successful candidate should have at least basic skills in synthetic organic/polymer chemistry, experience with controlled polymerization reactions, MOFs or catalysis is an advantage.
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