Functionalization of Metal-Organic Frameworks with Controllable Wettability

Solution for Finely-Tuned Hybrid Materials Previously Impeded by Instability to Water

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed metal-organic frameworks (MOF) having controlled wettability, a characteristic that attracts significant attention in the practical applicability of materials.  Engineering the wettability of a material presents a rational, yet complex solution to combat failure related to water absorptivity in biomedical, energy, environmental, and industrial systems.

Specifically, using a practical 2-step synthetic route, the MOF copper benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxylate (Cu3(BTC)2) functionalized with various anhydrides demonstrated hydrophobic to nearly superhydrophobic water contact angles.  Tunable wettability of materials such as these can significantly impact long-term applications and hold potential for drug carriers and drug release.

Background

The ability to predictably tune the properties of a material expands the overall usefulness, leading to enhanced functionality for target-specific applications. Hybrid materials are comprised of two or more constituents and inherently possess a high degree of tunability attributable to the ability to manipulate each individual component. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are a distinct class of organic-inorganic hybrid nanomaterials with intricate porous networks. The unique chemical environments at the pore sites has led to the investigation of MOFs for applications such as gas adsorption, catalysis, drug delivery, electronics, and luminescence.

Wettability is a characteristic that attracts significant attention in the practical applicability of materials, including MOFs. Engineering the wettability of a material presents a rational, yet complex solution to combat failure related to water absorptivity in biomedical, energy, environmental and industrial systems. The ability to carefully and predictably tune MOF wettability would enhance potential applications and provide a material with controllable desired characteristics.

Benefits

  • Enhanced hydrophobicity and stability in water
  • Novel 2-step synthetic route for tricoordinate MOFs
  • Synthesis of the MOF Cu3(NH2BTC)2 is highly uniform
  • Derivatives of MOF Cu3(NH2BTC) material demonstrated hydrophobic to nearly superhydrophobic water contact angles (120-150°)

Applications

Applications for finely-tuned hybrid materials previously impeded by instability to water, in industries such as:

  • Biological (e.g. drug delivery and drug release)
  • Gas storage
  • Electronics
Last Updated: September 2021
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Opportunity

Available for Licensing

IP Status
Inventors

Melissa Reynolds
Heather Rubin

Reference Number
17-073
Licensing Manager

Steve Foster
Steve.Foster@colostate.edu
970-491-7100