The art of empty space

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Science  27 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6362, pp. 448
DOI: 10.1126/science.aap8994

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Porous metals, semiconductors, and ceramics are widely used in optoelectronics, biological sensing, catalysis, and energy conversion and storage. Materials with pore diameters ranging from less than a nanometer to a few nanometers include zeolites (1), metalorganic frameworks (2), supramolecular coordination frameworks (3), and DNA lattices (4). Alternatively, colloidal crystals can be used to create micrometer-scale pores. However, voids that are several nanometers to several tens of nanometers in size make atomic lattices unstable and often collapse; such materials are therefore difficult to synthesize. On page 514 of this issue, Udayabhaskararao et al. (5) report a method for engineering primarily two-dimensional and, in some instances, three-dimensional materials that have regular nanometer-scale spaces between 5 and 25 nm and do not collapse.