On the direct synthesis of Cu(BDC) MOF nanosheets and their performance in mixed matrix membranes

Meera Shete, Prashant Kumar, Jonathan E. Bachman, Xiaoli Ma, Zachary P. Smith, Wenqian Xu, K. Andre Mkhoyan, Jeffrey R. Long, Michael Tsapatsis

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High aspect-ratio nanosheets of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) hold promise for use as selective flakes in gas separation membranes. However, simple and scalable methods for the synthesis of MOF nanosheets have thus far remained elusive. Here, we describe the direct synthesis of Cu(BDC) (BDC2– = 1,4-benzenedicarboxylate) nanosheets with an average lateral size of 2.5 µm and a thickness of 25 nm from a well-mixed solution. Characterization of the nanosheets by powder and thin film X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and electron diffraction reveals pronounced structural disorder that may affect their pore structure. Incorporation of the Cu(BDC) nanosheets into a Matrimid polymer matrix results in mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) that exhibit a 70% increase in the CO2/CH4 selectivity compared with that of Matrimid. Analysis of new and previously reported permeation data for Cu(BDC) MMMs using a mathematical model for selective flake composites indicates that further performance improvements could be achieved with the selection of different polymers for use in the continuous phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Center for Gas Separations Relevant to Clean Energy Technologies, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under Award DE-SC0001015 . SEM, TEM and AFM characterization were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from the NSF through the MRSEC and NNIN programs, respectively. SEM measurements were partially performed on a Hitachi 8230 provided by NSF MRI DMR-1229263. This research used the resources at the beamline 17-BM (powder XRD) and 33-BM-C (thin film XRD measurements) of the Advanced Photon Source, a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under contract no. DE-AC02-06CH11357 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Metal organic frameworks
  • Mixed matrix membranes
  • Nanosheets

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