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DEFect NETwork materials science and engineering

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DEFNET (DEFect NETwork materials science and engineering)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

DEFNET-641887: DEFect NETwork materials science and engineering was an EU-H2020 (MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN)- funded European Training Network (ETN) established at the intersection of chemistry, physics and engineering disciplines dealing with the structural and functional complexity of molecular network materials such as Metal-organic Frameworks (MOFs), including Double Metal Cyanides (DMCs).

DEFNET was a unique research and training platform for early stage researchers (ESRs) in chemistry, materials science and engineering mainly focusing on the DEFective NETwork materials based on MOFs and DMCs.

DEFNET-ETN was coordinated at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany from Jan. 2015 to Dec. 2018 consisting of 10 beneficiaries and 9 partner organizations from 6 participating countries of EU.

The overall objective of DEFNET network was to train 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) in the multidisciplinary filed of MOFs focusing mainly on the synthesis (intentional) of defective MOFs /DMCs, investigation of local and long-range defects, heterogeneity, disorder, correlated phenomena and its materials characterization, theory and materials simulation with application and technology relevant for catalysis, gas capture, and separation. At the end of the project (31.12.2018) DEFNET network recruited 15 ESRs and implemented 536,47 ESR months and provided an interdisciplinary training to the young researchers in the emerging field of MOFs.
DEFNET offered systematic interdisciplinary training to the recruited researchers, giving them necessary in-depth knowledge and synthetic skills in defective MOF synthesis and provided broad training in advanced analytical tools, theoretical methods (simulations) for investigation of defect structure in the application fields of catalysis, gas separation and gas capture. DEFNET Network organized 6 training workshops, 2 schools, one European level doctoral symposium: docMOF-2018 and the final concluding symposium. The DEFNET training concept was based on a structured academic curriculum, including soft-skill training workshops, on-site training at the state-of-the-art laboratories and at the synchrotron facilities as well as training at the partner organizations (industrial laboratories).

The research and training program of DEFNET had 8 work packages and at the end of the project the scientific research and training activities carried out by the 15 ESRs resulted into more than 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals and all the ESRs presented their results as oral presentations or as poster presentations during the international conferences such as MOF-2016, MOF-2018, EUROMOF-2017, Europacat 2017, and many other meetings and workshops. In addition, 6 DEFNET ESRs obtained their PhDs during this project period (2015- 2018) and the remaining ESRs will continue their research and will obtain their PhDs in 2019.

DEFNET consortium offered a high international quality training to ESRs by organizing 2 schools; one at ITQ, Valencia, Spain (2016), and other one at Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB), Bochum Germany (2017) involving the participation of external researchers and expert scientists. These schools are strongly devoted to the exchange of scientific knowledge and interaction of young scientists with expert researchers.

One of the major highlights and the success of the DEFNET network was the organization of the docMOF-2018 symposium by the DEFNET ESRs. The whole symposium was organized by the 15 ESRs with the support of the coordinators and the host beneficiary TUM. A final concluding DEFNET symposium was organized as a parallel symposium (Defects and Disorders in MOFs) during the MOF-2018 conference in Dec. 2018 at Auckland, New Zealand. 7 ESRs, 5 PIs and the Project Coordinator attended the conference and all the PIs and ESRs presented their results and disseminated the DEFNET project to the large MOF community of researchers.

The achievement and the overall success of the DEFNET-641887 ETN is mainly based on the excellent cooperation of all the beneficiaries, partner organizations, and their collaborative activities in research, training and dissemination of the project results. Dissemination is one of the important corner stone of DEFNET network activities and successfully achieved its milestones and targets by disseminating the network wide activities, expertise, progress and the scientific results to the general public, industries, authorities and international scientific community.

All the DEFNET consortium members have undertaken the following dissemination activities to communicate its project results and achievements.

a) Production of leaflets/announcements of DEFNET events and its distribution during the major international conferences like EUROMOF, MOF-2016 and other major meetings and conferences related to the field of MOF; b) Presentation of the scientific results of the project by ESRs as well as PIs during the international conferences, schools and final conference (oral presentations as well as poster presentations); c) Involvement of external researchers both from academia and the industry during the DEFNET events such as schools, workshops, docMOF and final conferences; d) Publication of scientific results in the peer reviewed journals as articles (see the list of publications) e) Publication of PhD thesis and Dissertations of DEFNET-ESRs within their host institutes; f) Updated web page of DEFNET (www.defnet-itn.eu) and the announcement of all the news, events, workshops, schools, final conference and all other relevant information of the project to the general audience.
Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), are designed and commonly viewed to be structurally “perfect” like discrete molecules, which however does not give the full structural information. There are numerous parameters scientists have in hand for a guided synthesis, such as the reticular chemistry approach, which combined with a clever choice of linker molecules and defined metal ion nodes (“bricks”), enables to design porosity, surface chemistry, and the functionalization of the coordination space in a new fashion. At the same time, the large parameter space challenges chemists, and elaborate structure–property relations are only being developed gradually. In turn, MOFs cover a broad range of fascinating properties and raised and still raise the interest of many scientists with various backgrounds, thereby crossing boundaries of traditional scientific disciplines.
Intrinsic structural defects on the molecular scale in MOFs and the possibilities of intentional generation and tailoring (reactive) “defect” sites in the volume of MOFs lead to many catalytic processes. In addition, tuning of the chemical and physical nature of such (intentional) defect containing MOFs opened up new combinatorial perspectives for applications in gas storage/separation, chemical sensing and many other exciting applications of defective MOFs.