Chris Murdock, a fifth year Ph.D. student in Professor Jenkins’ group, published a paper titled Rotating Phenyl Rings as a Guest-Dependent Switch in Two-Dimensional Metal–Organic Frameworks in the Jounral of American Chemical Society (JACS*).
The researchers studied a 2D metal-organic framework (MOF) in which a portion of the bridging linker can swivel to block the pore as a function of guest. Importantly, the ligand can rotate in a controlled manner and it was shown for the first time that the opening and closing of the channels or pores can be monitored by 13C CP MAS NMR. “This direct spectroscopic tecnhique could be highly valuable for testing additional frameworks which breathe through a similar ‘gate’ mechanism and would reduce the need for single crystal diffraction.” said Murdock, “Additionally, classic molecular dynamic simulations provided insight into why rotation occurs, and is due to differences in energies between the host framework and the adsorbed guest.”
This paper is a collaborative effort between Murdock, Jenkins and Dr. David Keffer, a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department, and his student Nicholas McNutt. “Dr. Keffer and Nicholas McNutt performed classical molecular dynamics simulations on the materials I had synthesized.” Murdock explained, “The objective of the manuscript was the study of materials which can act as gates by simply rotating a portion of the material to open and close the accessible pores or holes. Dr. Keffer and Nick’s simulations were therefore important as they allowed us to understand why this rotation was occurring.”
Originally from Sturgis, Kentucky, Murdock attended Kentucky Wesleyan College and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 2009. Two weeks after graduation, Murdock moved to Knoxville to start his graduate studies at the University of Tennessee and joined Jenkins’ group in 2010. His main research area is studying a new method for using MOFs as reagents. Murdock has first-authored and co-authored six papers since he joined the group. Besides his academic achievements, Murdock is actively playing sports including soccer and frisbee. Recently, he started running and participated in several 5Ks and even the Knoxville half-marathon last year. Scheduled to graduate this spring, Murdock is currently looking for industry jobs and staff scientist positions for maintaining X-ray facilities.
*Founded in 1879, JACS is the flagship journal of the American Chemical Society and the preeminent journal in the field. This periodical is devoted to the publication of fundamental research papers in all areas of chemistry. Published weekly, JACS provides research essential to the field of chemistry and is the most cited journal in chemistry field as reported in the 2010 Journal Citation Report© Thomson Reuters.