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Towards Artificial Enzymes: Bio-inspired Oxidations in Photoactive Metal-Organic Frameworks

Project description

Towards cleaner energy applications

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline materials with high porosity that contain arrays of positively charged metal ions. Their properties make them suitable for catalytic purposes to generate clean energy. Funded by the European Research Council, the Supramol project aims to improve the catalytic performance of MOFs through size, shape, and charge modifications. Researchers will also incorporate functional groups and photosensitisers to allow light absorption, triggering electron-transfer events and activating the catalytic centres. The ultimate goal is to achieve efficient light-to-chemical energy conversion, which would be a significant scientific breakthrough with far-reaching impacts for future generations.

Objective

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are key compounds related to energy storage and conversion, as their unprecedented surface areas make them promising materials for gas storage and catalysis purposes. We believe that their modular construction principles allow the replication of key features of natural enzymes thus demonstrating how cavity size, shape, charge and functional group availability influence the performances in catalytic reactions. This proposal addresses the question of how such novel, bio-inspired metallo-supramolecular systems can be prepared and exploited for sustainable energy applications. A scientific breakthrough that demonstrates the efficient conversion of light into chemical energy would be one of the greatest scientific achievements with unprecedented impact to future generations. We focus on the following key aspects:

a) MOFs containing novel, catalytically active complexes with labile coordination sites will be synthesised using rigid organic ligands that allow us to control the topologies, cavity sizes and surface areas. We will incorporate photosensitizers to develop robust porous MOFs in which light-absorption initiates electron-transfer events that lead to the activation of a catalytic centre. In addition, photoactive molecules will serve as addressable ligands whereby reversible, photo-induced structural transformations impose changes to porosity and chemical attributes at the active sites.

b) Catalytic studies will focus on important oxidations of alkenes and alcohols. These reactions are relevant to H2-based energy concepts as the anodic liberation of protons and electrons can be coupled to their cathodic recombination to produce H2. The studies will provide proof-of-concept for the development of photocatalytic systems for the highly endergonic H2O oxidation reaction that will be explored using most stable MOFs. Further, gas storage and magnetic properties that may also be influenced by light-irradiation will be analysed.

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Coordinator

THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD, OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 979 366,00
Address
College green trinity college
D02 CX56 Dublin 2
Ireland

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Region
Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)