Ge(001) before and after gold evaporation and annealing
Kernel of the 4-probe microscope (left), crushed tip on Si surface (middle), two STM tips over gold structures on Ge(001) surface

Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREP),
6th Framework Programme of the European Union under the contract number NMP4-CT-2006-032109 for years: 2006-2009.

"Anchoring of metal-organic frameworks. MOFs, to surfaces" (SURMOF)

- as partner
project supported also by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education under name: „Wiązanie struktur metalo-organicznych typu MOF do powierzchni” acronym: SURMOF, contract no: 186/6. PR UE/2007/7 for years: 2005-2008.

In order to reach and maintain a forefront position in future technologies Europe will have to play a leading role in development of new classes of nano-materials, which will be a key element of tomorrow’s technologies.
Control of growth and properties of structures on a length scale down to molecular dimensions is one of the major challenges in nanotechnology. The project tackles this challenge by merging surface science with coordination chemistry.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) which are coordination polymers consisting of organic ligands linked together by metal ions, are very promising systems due to the virtually unlimited flexibility in their design. Besides appealing properties of the MOF framework itself which makes MOFs most interesting as electrochromic, magnetic, and storage materials, it is the fact that the framework can be loaded with other molecular compounds by employing a guest-host chemistry which creates a tremendous technological potential in a variety of different fields, in particular with respect to catalysis and hydrogen storage. Further applications, e.g., in sensors and in electronics where the length scale below 20 nm requires solutions beyond established concepts, emerge when MOFs are attached to surfaces.

Contrasting existing strategies which are based on the anchoring of bulk-synthesised MOFs on a surface, the present project takes a qualitatively new approach by using surfaces to initiate and control the growth of MOFs. Combining a bottom-up (building of the MOFs from molecular subunits) with a top-down (different types of lithographies) approach, control of MOF patterns in three dimensions is envisaged.

Involving coordination and synthetic organic chemistry, surface science, and modelling a comprehensive approach is adopted. Ranging from fundamental aspects of nucleation and growth of MOFs to application related issues of their host-guest chemistry different schemes will be explored by experiments on different types of MOFs under conditions which range from ultrahigh vacuum to electrochemical environment.

Although the main focus of the project is on fundamental aspects of a previously unexplored scientific subject we will investigate the applicability of MOF structures with regard to sensing applications. These structures will be based on metal-nanoparticle loaded MOFs which are anchored to a patterned organic surface.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) – nanoporous materials consisting of a coordination network of metal ions and organic ligands – with their fascinating opportunities for materials design due to a virtually unlimited variability in structure and properties are a promising class of materials to meet such a challenge. An additional dimension in MOF design with an unprecedented potential for control on the nanometer length scale opens up if the possibilities afforded by these three-dimensional (3D) objects are combined with knowledge and methodologies derived from surface and interface science and ultrathin films. Linking two separate disciplines, it is the goal of this project to develop the fundamental of guide-lines for surface controlled initiation and growth of 3D metal-organic frameworks (SURMOFs).

October 2006 – September 2009

SURMOF Partners:

  • Ruhr Universitaet Bochum, Germany
  • Universitaet Hamburg, Germany
  • University of St. Andrews, UK
  • Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain
  • University Liverpool, UK
  • The Royal Institution of Great Britain, University College London, UK
  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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