Membrane-based separation technologies are an energy-efficient alternative to conventional separation technologies (e.g., distillation, condensation). Although substantial progress has been made in the development of gas separation membranes over the past 50 years, more than 90% of current commercial gas separations are limited to the separation of noncondensable gases. A larger market lies in the separation of condensable gas mixtures, but no suitable membranes are commercially available for these applications, mainly due to the limitations of current polymeric membranes.
Crystalline nanoporous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), made of metal centers connected with polydentate organic linkers, are considered one of the most promising membrane materials because of their unique coordination chemistries that offer diversity in structure and functionality. For gas separation applications, an important subclass of MOFs is zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs), which consist of divalent metal nodes (usually zinc or cobalt) connected to imidazole-based linkers...
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