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Refinement of pore size at sub-angstrom precision in robust metal–organic frameworks for separation of xylenes

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17640-4 DOI Help

Authors: Xiaolin Li (University of Manchester; Harbin Institute of Technology) , Juehua Wang (University of Manchester) , Xinran Zhang (University of Manchester) , Xue Han (University of Manchester) , Ivan Da Silva (ISIS Facility) , Christopher G. Morris (University of Manchester) , Shaojun Xu (University of Manchester) , Damian M. Wilary (University of Manchester) , Yinyong Sun (Harbin Institute of Technology) , Yongqiang Cheng (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) , Claire A. Murray (Diamond Light Source) , Chiu C. Tang (Diamond Light Source) , Mark D. Frogley (Diamond Light Source) , Gianfelice Cinque (Diamond Light Source) , Tristan Lowe (University of Manchester) , Haifei Zhang (University of Liverpool) , Anibal J. Ramirez-cuesta (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) , K. Mark Thomas (Newcastle University) , Leslie W. Bolton (BP Group Research) , Sihai Yang (University of Nottingham) , Martin Schroeder (Structural Genomic Consortium, Oxford; University of Manchester) , Nannan Bai (University of Manchester)
Co-authored by industrial partner: Yes

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Communications , VOL 11

State: Published (Approved)
Published: August 2020
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 13247

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The demand for xylenes is projected to increase over the coming decades. The separation of xylene isomers, particularly p- and m-xylenes, is vital for the production of numerous polymers and materials. However, current state-of-the-art separation is based upon fractional crystallisation at 220 K which is highly energy intensive. Here, we report the discrimination of xylene isomers via refinement of the pore size in a series of porous metal–organic frameworks, MFM-300, at sub-angstrom precision leading to the optimal kinetic separation of all three xylene isomers at room temperature. The exceptional performance of MFM-300 for xylene separation is confirmed by dynamic ternary breakthrough experiments. In-depth structural and vibrational investigations using synchrotron X-ray diffraction and terahertz spectroscopy define the underlying host–guest interactions that give rise to the observed selectivity (p-xylene < o-xylene < m-xylene) and separation factors of 4.6–18 for p- and m-xylenes.

Journal Keywords: Metal–organic frameworks

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Materials


Instruments: B22-Multimode InfraRed imaging And Microspectroscopy , I11-High Resolution Powder Diffraction

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s41467-020-17640-4.pdf