This research explores how Metal-organic nanotubes (MONTs) are the one-dimensional analogue of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a class of highly porous crystalline materials typically used for gas storage, separations, and heterogeneous catalysis. Despite being 1D porous materials, MONTs aggregate as 3D bulk crystals as the chemical reaction proceeds.
Graduate student, Kristina Vailonis, explains “Our goal is to observe the formation of a single nanotube or small bundle of nanotubes before the bulk phase is formed. We achieved this goal through rational ligand design by the Jenkins group at The University of Tennessee and the use of in situ liquid-cell transmission electron microscopy (LCTEM) by our collaborators Dr. Nathan Gianneschi and Dr. Karthikeyan Gnanasekaran at Northwestern University.”
This paper details the first application of LCTEM as a tool to monitor the formation of a MONT in real time.
The group’s research “Glimpsing growing nanotubes” has also been featured in the July 19, 2019 edition of Science as chemistry article of the week.