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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2018-06-08 11:00:24
    • Article ID: 695805

    Robust MOF Material Exhibits Selective, Fully Reversible and Repeatable Capture of Toxic Atmospheric Gas

    Discovery could lead to cost-effective removal from the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

    • Credit: ORNL/Jill Hemman

      Illustration of a nitrogen dioxide molecule (depicted in red and gold) confined within a nano-size pore of an MFM-300(Al) metal-organic framework material as characterized using neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    Led by the University of Manchester, an international team of scientists has developed a metal-organic framework material (MOF) that exhibits a selective, fully reversible and repeatable capability to remove nitrogen dioxide gas from the atmosphere in ambient conditions. This discovery, confirmed by researchers using neutron scattering at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, could lead to air filtration technologies that cost-effectively capture and convert large quantities of targeted gases, including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, to facilitate their long-term sequestration to help mitigate air pollution and global warming.

    As reported in Nature Materials, the material denoted as MFM-300(Al) exhibited the first reversible, selective capture of nitrogen dioxide at ambient pressures and temperatures—at low concentrations—in the presence of moisture, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Despite the highly reactive nature of nitrogen dioxide, the MFM-300(Al) material proved extremely robust, demonstrating the capability to be fully regenerated, or degassed, multiple times without loss of crystallinity or porosity.

    “This material is the first example of a metal-organic framework that exhibits a highly selective and fully reversible capability for repeated separation of nitrogen dioxide from the air, even in presence of water,” said Sihai Yang, one of the study’s lead authors and a lecturer in inorganic chemistry at Manchester’s School of Chemistry.

    Professor Martin Schröder, another lead author from Manchester Chemistry, commented, “Other studies of different porous materials often found performance was degraded in subsequent cycles by the nitrogen dioxide, or that the regeneration process was too difficult and costly.”

    As part of the research, the scientists used neutron scattering techniques at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to confirm and precisely characterize how MFM-300(Al) captures nitrogen dioxide molecules.

    “Neutrons can easily penetrate dense materials and they are sensitive to lighter elements, such as the hydrogen atoms inside the MFM, which enabled us to observe how the nitrogen dioxide molecules are confined within the nano-size pores,” said Timmy Ramirez-Cuesta, a co-author and coordinator for the chemistry and catalysis initiative at ORNL’s Neutron Sciences Directorate. “We benefitted from the extremely high sensitivity and quantitative data provided by the VISION vibrational spectroscopy instrument on ORNL’s 16-B beamline at the Spallation Neutron Source, which uses neutrons instead of photons to probe molecular vibrations.”

    The ability to directly observe how and where MFM-300(Al) traps nitrogen dioxide is helping the researchers validate a computer model of the MOF gas separation process, which could help identify how to produce and tailor other materials to capture a variety of different gases.

    “Computer modeling and simulation played critical roles in interpreting the neutron scattering data by helping us connect subtle changes in the vibrational spectra to interactions between the MFM-300 and trapped molecules,” said Yongqiang Cheng, an ORNL neutron scattering scientist and co-author. “Our goal is to integrate the model with experimental techniques to deliver results that are otherwise difficult to achieve.”

    Capturing greenhouse and toxic gases from the atmosphere has long been a challenge, because of their relatively low concentrations and the presence of moisture in the air, which can negatively affect separating targeted gas molecules from other gases. Another challenge has been finding a practical way to release a captured gas for long-term sequestration, such as in underground depleted oil reservoirs or saline-filled rock formations. MOFs offer solutions to many of these challenges, which is why they are the subject of recent scientific investigations.

    The research team involved scientists from institutions in five nations, including the University of Nottingham, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Peking University, the International Tomography Center SB RAS, Novosibirsk State University, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble.

    Additional co-authors of the paper, titled “Reversible adsorption of nitrogen dioxide within a robust porous metal-organic framework,” include Xue Han, Harry G.W. Godfrey, Lydia Briggs, Andrew J. Davies, Luke L. Daemen, Alena M. Sheveleva, Floriana Tuna, Eric J. L. McInnes, Junliang Sun, Christina Drathen, Michael W. George, and K. Mark Thomas.

    The project was supported by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Royal Society of Chemistry, the E.U. European Research Council, University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, Russian Science Foundation, and Russian Ministry of Science and Education. The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble provided access to its ID22 beamline.

    The Spallation Neutron Source is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The neutron research was supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at ORNL through the Virtual Experiments in Spectroscopy program and the Integrated Computer Environment Modeling and Analysis for Neutron data software program.

    The University of Manchester’s research has real-world impact beyond academia. From tackling cancer and poverty to finding the energy solutions of the future, our research is making a real difference to the quality of people’s lives across the globe. For more information about the Nature Materials study and MOF gas separation research, visit https://www.chemistry.manchester.ac.uk/connect/.                                                         

    UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information about ORNL and its neutron research capabilities, please visit http://science.energy.gov/.

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    Missing gamma-ray blobs shed new light on dark matter, cosmic magnetism

    Scientists, including researchers from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, have compiled the most detailed catalog of such blobs using eight years of data collected with the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. The blobs, including 19 gamma-ray sources that weren't known to be extended before, provide crucial information on how stars are born, how they die, and how galaxies spew out matter trillions of miles into space.

    Applying Auto Industry's Fuel-Efficiency Standards to Agriculture Could Net Billions in Corn Sector, Researchers Conclude

    Adopting benchmarks similar to the fuel-efficiency standards used by the auto industry in the production of fertilizer could yield $5-8 billion in economic benefits for the U.S. corn sector alone, researchers have concluded in a new analysis.

    Research on Light-Matter Interaction Could Lead to Improved Electronic and Optoelectronic Devices

    A paper published in Nature Communications by Sufei Shi, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer, increases our understanding of how light interacts with atomically thin semiconductors and creates unique excitonic complex particles, multiple electrons, and holes strongly bound together.

    Next-Gen Ultrafast Optical Fiber-Based Electron Gun to Reveal Atomic Motions During Transition State

    A new method enables researchers to directly observe and capture atomic motions at surfaces and interfaces in real time.

    Intense Microwave Pulse Ionizes Its Own Channel Through Plasma

    Researchers experimentally observed the ionization-induced channeling of an intense microwave beam propagating through a neutral gas (>103 Pa).

    Ancient Pigment Can Boost Energy Efficiency

    Egyptian blue, derived from calcium copper silicate, was routinely used on ancient depictions of gods and royalty. Previous studies have shown that when Egyptian blue absorbs visible light, it then emits light in the near-infrared range. Now a team led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has confirmed the pigment's fluorescence can be 10 times stronger than previously thought.

    Expanding Fungal Diversity, One Cell at a Time

    Reported October 8, 2018, in Nature Microbiology, a team led by U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute researchers developed a pipeline to generate genomes from single cells of uncultivated fungi. The approach was tested on several uncultivated species representing early diverging fungi.

    Columbia Engineers Build Smallest Integrated Kerr Frequency Comb Generator

    Optical frequency combs can enable ultrafast processes in physics, biology, and chemistry, as well as improve communication and navigation, medical testing, and security. Columbia Engineers have built a Kerr frequency comb generator that, for the first time, integrates the laser with the microresonator, significantly shrinking the system's size and power requirements. They no longer need to connect separate devices using fiber--they can now integrate it all on compact and energy efficient photonic chips.

    Scientists Present New Clues to Cut Through the Mystery of Titan's Atmospheric Haze

    Experiments at Berkeley Lab helped scientists zero in on a low-temperature chemical mechanism that may help to explain the complex molecular compounds that make up the nitrogen-rich haze layer surrounding Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

    Consumers willing to pay more for sustainably brewed beer, study finds

    More and more breweries are investing in practices to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases. Will it pay off? A study by Indiana University researchers suggests it may.


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    Prototype Solar Energy, Battery Systems to Fuel Commercialization

    Designing, building and testing prototype systems that show how renewable energy can power devices, such as a weather and soil sensor station, can help bridge the gap between basic science research and commercialization.

    "Invisible Glass" Wins 2018 Create the Future Design Contest Grand Prize

    Scientists from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials developed a technique for making nonreflecting glass, silicon, and plastic surfaces.

    Missouri S&T researchers win multimillion dollar grant to build fast-charging stations for electric cars

    Researchers from Missouri S&T and three private companies will combine their expertise to create charging stations for electric vehicles that could charge a car in less than 10 minutes - matching the time it takes to fill up a conventional vehicle with gasoline."The big problem with electric vehicles is range, and it's not so much range as range anxiety.

    Making batteries store more energy, last longer

    A new solid polymer electrolyte may help make cell phone batteries store more energy and last longer.

    Three Brookhaven Lab Scientists Named Fellows of American Physical Society

    The American Physical Society (APS), the world's largest physics organization, has elected three scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory as 2018 APS fellows.

    Southern Research first to win accreditation under ISO 14034

    Southern Research has become the first organization in the United States to earn accreditation under ISO 14034, a new international standard for evaluating and verifying environmental technologies that was recently adopted by the American National Standards Institute.

    Kawtar Hafidi to head Physical Sciences and Engineering directorate at Argonne

    Physicist Kawtar Hafidi has been appointed Associate Laboratory Director, Physical Sciences and Engineering at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

    Argonne researchers honored by Energy Secretary's awards program

    A select group of researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory was recently recognized for their contributions to infrastructure security and nuclear nonproliferation at the Secretary's Honor Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on August 29.

    PPPL's Sam Cohen earns award at meeting of U.S. government-funded laboratories hosted by PPPL

    PPPL physicist Sam Cohen and a local company win a Federal Laboratory Consortium award for a rocket propulsion technology.

    ORNL researchers advance quantum computing, science through six DOE awards

    The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the recipient of six awards from DOE's Office of Science aimed at accelerating quantum information science (QIS), a burgeoning field of research increasingly seen as vital to scientific innovation and national security. The awards, which represent three Office of Science programs, were made in conjunction with the White House Summit on Advancing American Leadership in QIS and will leverage and strengthen ORNL's established programs in quantum information processing and quantum computing.


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    How to Make Soot and Stardust

    Scientists unlock mystery that could help reduce emissions of fine particles from combustion engines and other sources.

    Breaking the Symmetry Between Fundamental Forces

    Scientists improve our understanding of the relationship between fundamental forces by re-creating the earliest moments of the universe.

    Water Plays Unexpected Role in Forming Minerals

    Water molecules line up tiny particles to attach and form minerals; understanding how this happens impacts energy extraction and storage along with waste disposal.

    Heavy Particles Get Caught Up in the Flow

    First direct measurement show how heavy particles containing a charm quark get caught up in the flow of early universe particle soup.

    Seeing Between the Atoms

    New detector enables electron microscope imaging at record-breaking resolution.

    Scaling Up Single-Crystal Graphene

    New method can make films of atomically thin carbon that are over a foot long.

    Discovered: Optimal Magnetic Fields Suppress Instabilities in Tokamak Plasmas

    U.S. and Korean scientists show how to find and use beneficial 3-D field perturbations to stabilize dangerous edge-localized modes in plasma.

    New Electron Glasses Sharpen Our View of Atomic-Scale Features

    A new approach to atom probe tomography promises more precise and accurate measurements vital to semiconductors used in computers, lasers, detectors, and more.

    Getting an Up-Close, 3-D View of Gold Nanostars

    Scientists can now measure 3-D structures of tiny particles with properties that hold promise for advanced sensors and diagnostics.

    Small, Short-Lived Drops of Early Universe Matter

    Particle flow patterns suggest even small-scale collisions create drops of early universe quark-gluon plasma.


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