Synthesis of zeolitic imidazolate framework films and membranes with controlled microstructures

Michael C McCarthy, Victor Varela-Guerrero, Gregory V Barnett, Hae-Kwon Jeong
Langmuir: the ACS Journal of Surfaces and Colloids 2010 September 21, 26 (18): 14636-41
Zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) are hybrid organic-inorganic microporous materials that exhibit zeolite-like structures and can be synthesized with a wide range of pore sizes and chemical functionality. ZIFs as thin films and membranes are of interest for their applications in sensors and gas separation. Here, we report a method for ZIF film and membrane fabrication, based on support surface modification and in situ solvothermal growth, which has potential for general application to other ZIF membranes. Our simple surface modification method results in strong covalent bonds between α-Al(2)O(3) supports and imidazolate ligands, which promote the heterogeneous nucleation and growth of ZIF crystals. The microstructure of ZIF-8 films can be controlled by controlling the pH of the growth solution. ZIF-7 films were fabricated to demonstrate the potential for general applicability of our method. Finally, the separation performance of several ZIF-8 membranes was evaluated, revealing molecular sieving behavior with an ideal selectivity for H(2)/CH(4) of 13.

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