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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1774. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2757.

A synthetic route to ultralight hierarchically micro/mesoporous Al(III)-carboxylate metal-organic aerogels.

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MOE Laboratory of Bioinorganic and Synthetic Chemistry, State Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Materials and Technologies, Lehn Institute of Functional Materials, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.


Developing a synthetic methodology for the fabrication of hierarchically porous metal-organic monoliths that feature high surface area, low density and tunable porosity is imperative for mass transfer applications, including bulky molecule capture, heterogeneous catalysis and drug delivery. Here we report a versatile and facile synthetic route towards ultralight micro/mesoporous metal-organic aerogels based on the two-step gelation of metal-organic framework nanoparticles. Heating represents a key factor in the control of gelation versus crystallization of Al(III)-multicarboxylate systems. The porosity of the resulting metal-organic aerogels can be readily tuned, leading to the formation of well-ordered intraparticle micropores and aerogel-specific interparticle mesopores, thereby integrating the merits of both crystalline metal-organic frameworks and light aerogels. The hierarchical micro/mesoporosity of the Al-metal-organic aerogels is thoroughly evaluated by N₂ sorption. The good accessibility of the micro/mesopores is verified by vapour/dye uptake, and their potential for utilization as effective fibre-coating absorbents is tested in solid-phase microextraction analyses.

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