Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are organic-inorganic hybrid crystalline porous materials that consist of a regular array of positively charged metal ions surrounded by organic ‘linker’ molecules. The metal ions form nodes that bind the arms of the linkers together to form a repeating, cage-like structure. Due to this hollow structure, MOFs have an extraordinarily large internal surface area
Researchers have synthesized MOFs that feature a surface area of more than 7000 square meters per gram. To put this into context, if you could lay out the available surface area in a teaspoon of this material (around a gram of solid), it would cover an entire soccer field.
MOFs offer unique structural diversity in contrast to other porous materials – uniform pore structures; atomic-level structural uniformity; tunable porosity; extensive varieties; and flexibility in network topology, geometry, dimension, and chemical functionality. This allows researchers the successful control of framework topology, porosity, and functionality.
MOFs unique structure design and tunability – crystalline porous materials that are composed of both organic and inorganic components in a rigid periodic networked structure – is not readily accessible in conventional porous materials, e.g., purely inorganic zeolites.