Novosibirsk Scientists Help Realize New Molecular Design Method

Research by Novosibirsk scientists and their foreign colleagues helped define a new molecular design approach for creating functional materials capable of selectively absorbing toxic gases.

Scientists at the NSU Physics Department Laboratory for Structures and Functional Properties of Molecular Systems and the G. K. Boreskov Institute of Catalysis SBRAS studied material in relation to the selective absorption of toxic gases and were able to establish detailed characteristics for the components that make up the molecular sieve. Experts were able to understand how the structure functions and identify absorption centers for various types of gases, such as CO2 and SO2. Ultimately, the work of these researchers helped improve the original material by creating a new molecular design method for microporous metal-organic frameworks.

The problem of cleaning industrial gases is particularly acute today. To solve it, as well as to absorb and separate toxic gases from synthetics, the University of Manchester was able to create a new complex sorbent material. The difficulty working with toxic gases such as СО2 and SO2 is they enter into an active reaction with other substances, exposing them to corrosion. However, the researchers were able to solve this problem by creating a stable sorbent, a porous metal-organic framework (inorganic center + organic linker with special functionality, which acts as a “bridge” between nodes) with a polarized structure. Because of the strong polarization, it is difficult to assemble this framework. To solve this problem, the suggested approach was to protect the polar moment (nitrogen) by a methyl group (protector) and the chlorine atom was kept at a set distance nearby. In this way, the elements compensate for each other.
Daniel Kolokolov, Senior Researcher at the NSU Laboratory for Structures and Functional Properties of Molecular Systems, talked about their contribution,
Our capabilities allowed us to research the dynamics of the initial framework, and we found out that in this framework the methyl group is an absorption center for carbon dioxide. In order to determine the operating principle, we had to use a whole set of physicochemical methods. As a result, we were able to describe this framework at the molecular level in detail. Subsequently, our colleagues at the University of Manchester conducted a thermal activation, during which the methyl group and chlorine were separated. Only the neutral framework remained, which had even more selective properties than the original version.

The research conducted by the Novosibirsk scientists and their foreign colleagues helped not only to suggest how to remove protectors, but also to confirm in practice a new molecular design approach to creating functional materials, stable microporous structures with the desired functional properties that are able to selectively absorb toxic gases. The result of the international team of scientists was published in the "Chemical Science" journal.

The selective and reversible absorption of various toxic gases is applicable in the mining industry, ferrous metallurgy, and energy sector based on the processes of combustion.

Previously, Laboratory scientists made a discovery related to hydrogen energy. Scientists were able to deal with the mechanism of proton conductivity experimentally and showed how carrier particles appear on the membrane surface. They also suggested additional surface treatment to increase the carrier concentration, thereby improving conductivity. This is potentially a new step for the energy sector that can be used in modern power sources with the help of environmentally friendly materials. The results of the research by the international scientific team were published in the prestigious "Chemistry of Materials" journal.

The Laboratory is supported by the 5-100 Project.