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SURMOF Report Summary

Project ID: 32109
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - SURMOF (Anchoring of metal-organic frameworks, MOFs, to surfaces)

When the SURMOF project was initiated in 2005, a new class of materials referred to as Metalorganic frameworks (MOFs), Porous coordination polymers (PCPs) or grid-type metalion architectures was receiving a huge attention. At this point in time, most of this attention resulted from the prospect to use these nano-porous materials for hydrogen storage in gas-tanks of automobiles. But, already then, four years ago, it was apparent that this class of materials with its ability to store small and medium-sizes molecules and objects, carries a huge potential for a number of other applications. While for gas storage the availability of the MOF-materials as powders is sufficient, for many of the more advanced applications of MOFs a reliable, reproducible and homogenous deposition on solid substrates is required. These more sophisticated applications include the use of MOFs as membranes for gas separation, in connection with electrical and electronic applications (including molecular electronics, organic electronics and optoelectronics) as well as sensor applications.

Realising that at this point in time, a reliable method to deposit of MOFs on solid substrate could not be achieved, we developed the plan for the present project SURMOF. The goals of SURMOF as defined in the original proposal were the development of methods to deposit MOFs on solid substrates and first tests with regard to possible applications in the area of sensor devices. Although the use of MOFs for sensor devices - and other applications different form gas storage - were certainly much too far ahead in the future to talk about more specific task we proposed to have - at the end of the project - a first proof-of-principle device available.

At the end of the project, the general interest in MOFs is even larger than it was in 2005. Also in Europe the interest in this novel class of materials is still increasing, as reflected by the fact that in 2008 the first international conference on MOFs was held in Augsburg, Germany, and the next one, named MOF2012 was organised in Marseille, France, in 2010. While the interest in hydrogen storage has, both in the United States and in Europe, decreased somewhat with respect of the situation in 2005, the general interest in MOFs and in particular with regard to the use of these nanoporous frameworks for other, more advanced applications, have seen an enormous increase. Many of these more advanced applications require, as mentioned above, a safe method to anchor these methods on substrates. We thus conclude that the target of the SURMOF project defined in 2005 was a very timely one.

A brief inspection of the SURMOF results as described reveals that the project has been a very big success. Certainly, this conclusion needs to be justified in more detail but basically, the following three facts already justify this very positive conclusion.

1) More than 30 papers describing the outcome of SURMOF were accepted for publication, some of them in high-ranked (impact factor larger than 3) and very high-ranked journals (impact-factor larger than 10).
2) The organisers of the EuroNanoForum 2009 in Prague accepted three talks proposed by members of the SURMOF consortium for on the main plenary sessions (one of which was presented by the SURMOF coordinator, Prof. Wöll, to describe the overall SURMOF results). In addition, there was a workshop with nine contributions of MOF-applications, including one from another, MOF-related EU-funded MOFCAT project. In addition, members of the SURMOF consortium presented 11 posters with their research results during the EuroNanoForum 2009.
3) Today, when it comes to anchoring MOFs on substrates, the contributions from the partners within SURMOF are recognised worldwide. All scientific work presently published on MOF deposition on substrates contain references to work done by partners within SURMOF. We are not aware of any exception to this statement.

The fact that - as characteristic for a high-risk research project - not all milestones defined in the original proposal could be ready does not put in question the very positive over-all judgement presented above. Before the very successful layer-by-layer method (also referred to as liquid-phase epitaxy) could be implemented first the problem related to the depositon on MOFs on substrates had to be investigated in more detail - and some negative results eventually helped to develop this novel method which is now the basis for MOF desorption on solid substrates.

With almost all main goals of the project reached the very successful project SURMOF has provided the basis for many new research projects. Now, upon completion of the SURMOF project, we not only foresee more than 10 additional publications describing the outcome of SURMOF but also a number of new research initiatives on the national level within European Union (EU) Member States and on the European level.

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