Self-Accelerating CO Sorption in a Soft Nanoporous Crystal

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Science  12 Dec 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246423

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Carbon monoxide (CO) produced in many large-scale industrial oxidation processes is difficult to separate from nitrogen (N2) and after it just further oxidized to CO2. We report a new soft nanoporous crystalline material that selectively adsorbs CO with adaptable pores, and present crystallographic evidence that CO molecules can coordinate with Cu2+ ions. The unprecedented high selectivity was achieved by the synergetic effect of the local interaction between CO and accessible metal sites and a global transformation of the framework. This transformable crystalline material realized the separation of CO from mixtures with N2, a gas that is the most competitive to CO. The dynamic and efficient molecular trapping and releasing system is reminiscent of sophisticated biological systems such as heme proteins.

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