Some materials are special not for what they contain, but for what they don’t contain. Such is the case with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) – ultra-porous structures that are being developed for a variety of future applications from fire-proofing to drug-delivery. MOFs are, in fact, the most porous materials known to humankind. One metal-organic framework, so-called NU-110, has such a large surface area that just one gram of it could be unfolded to cover one-and-a-half football fields.
That huge internal surface area is a result of the atomic components – metal atoms linked together by organic molecules, forming a cage-like structure. It is by tinkering with the chemistry of these cages, and by inserting different objects inside them, that scientists are able to contemplate so many different applications……more