Direct Observation of Xe and Kr Adsorption in a Xe-Selective Microporous Metal–Organic Framework
journal contributionposted on 10.06.2015 by Xianyin Chen, Anna M. Plonka, Debasis Banerjee, Rajamani Krishna, Herbert T. Schaef, Sanjit Ghose, Praveen K. Thallapally, John B. Parise
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The cryogenic separation of noble gases is energy-intensive and expensive, especially when low concentrations are involved. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) containing polarizing groups within their pore spaces are predicted to be efficient Xe/Kr solid-state adsorbents, but no experimental insights into the nature of the Xe–network interaction are available to date. Here we report a new microporous MOF (designated SBMOF-2) that is selective toward Xe over Kr under ambient conditions, with a Xe/Kr selectivity of about 10 and a Xe capacity of 27.07 wt % at 298 K. Single-crystal diffraction results show that the Xe selectivity may be attributed to the specific geometry of the pores, forming cages built with phenyl rings and enriched with polar −OH groups, both of which serve as strong adsorption sites for polarizable Xe gas. The Xe/Kr separation in SBMOF-2 was investigated with experimental and computational breakthrough methods. These experiments showed that Kr broke through the column first, followed by Xe, which confirmed that SBMOF-2 has a real practical potential for separating Xe from Kr. Calculations showed that the capacity and adsorption selectivity of SBMOF-2 are comparable to those of the best-performing unmodified MOFs such as NiMOF-74 or Co formate.