Separation of chiral molecules plays an important role in the production of a wide array of pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, and other molecules. Often these separations are carried out using chromatography, but the materials used in chiral chromatography columns have a number of disadvantages. In particular, they exhibit low capacity and it is difficult to tailor them because of poor control over the molecular-level architecture where chiral binding occurs. To overcome these problems, this project will develop new metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) featuring well controlled chiral environments. MOFs are a new class of nanoporous materials synthesized in a building-block approach from metal nodes and organic linkers with great potential for separations, catalysis, and other applications.
The objectives of this multidisciplinary project are to
• Develop and test the necessary tools for molecular simulation of adsorption of chiral molecules in MOFs
• Use molecular modeling to guide the synthesis of new MOFs for targeted separation of some important racemic mixtures
• Collaborate with synthetic chemists to demonstrate experimentally that MOFs can perform enantioselective separations and test the results from simulations against experiments
• Gain a better understanding of chiral recognition and the factors that affect selectivity in chiral MOFs.
The proposed research will integrate solid state chemistry, adsorption fundamentals, and molecular modeling which forms the interface for achieving transformative advances in this field.
Call for proposal
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