Saturday, September 4, 2010

Acronym in coordination chemistry: MOF for metal-organic framework

In chemistry and materials science the acronym MOF is known to stand for the term metal-organic framework [1]. A MOF is a nanostructure consisting of metal atoms or ions, or clusters thereof, and ligands that extend ‘infinitely’ into one, two, or three dimensions by metal-ligand bonding. MOFs are also called coordination polymers.

Depending on the functional design of the molecular structure of the bridging organic ligand(s), a mind-boggling diversity of nanostructural—or let's say suprastructural—topologies are possible. Such framework-structure-based topologies include well-known regular tessellation-type networks as well as complex non-regular ones, not to forget interpenetrating networks. MOF applications range from ion exchange, molecule storage, gas separation, and chemical sensing to catalysis. If the right starting components are chosen, such as food-grade γ-cyclodextrin, potassium cations and ethanol solvent, edible MOFs can be produced via self-assembly [2]. Bon Appétit!

Keywords: complex chemistry, food chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, topology, nanostructure design, oligosacharides, biorenewability

References and further reading
[1] Chapter 16Crystal engineering: Metal-Organic Framework (MOFs)” in the book by Joan Ribas Gispert with the title Coordination Chemistry. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany, 2008.
[2] Mitch Jacobi: Making Edible Nanostructures. Chemical & Engineering News August 30, 2010, 88 (35), page. 6 and on the Web at

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