Other applications

One of the most appealing features of MOFs is the infinite possibilities to fine-tune their surface chemistry. This feature opens the opportunity to design materials for specific applications.

Energy Storage

Energy storage is vital for our lives! Within Li-ion batteries, there is a constant quest for new materials to improve battery stability and lifetime. Due to their super high porosity, MOF materials can be used as electrode materials, electrolytes, and stability enhancers.

They can increase energy density and ion transport as electrode materials. When used as electrolytes, they can extend the cycle life and safety. Combined with other materials, they can create solid electrolytes, eliminating the explosion risk in current batteries with liquid electrolytes. As for stability enhancers, MOFs reduce dendrite growth in lithium metal anodes for long-term operation.

Pharmaceuticals

MOFs have found a niche in the pharmaceutical industry as delivery vehicles for sensitive active ingredients. Their implementation aims to allow a controlled drug release, reducing acute side effects and increasing drug efficacy. The drug, loaded inside the adsorbent pores, can be released by stimuli such as light and pressure or environmental conditions like temperature and pH.

Besides oral drug delivery, MOFs can be employed for the cutaneous administration of cosmetics. MOF-based materials for topic delivery can increase drug loading, improve skin permeation, and prolong the release time. They can also be used for diagnostics due to their imaging properties.

Water Treatment

Wastewater treatment technology is critical, especially for pollutants that standard technologies cannot remove. Innovative technologies are emerging to improve existing methods based on novel materials.

MOFs are employed in diverse applications related to water treatment such as desalination and pollutant removal, offering large surface areas, tunable pore size and shape, and ease of functionalization.

MOF applications in water treatment are not limited to the removal of pollutants. MOFs offer a versatile sensing platform of the contaminants for detecting molecules in situ, with outstanding accuracy.

Sensors

The tuneable reactivity and pore size in MOFs enable various sensing mechanisms such as optical, electromechanical, electrochemical, and photoelectrochemical sensors. MOF-based sensors have been applied for the detection of gases (SO2, NO, H2S, NH3, CO2, VOCs), pollutants in liquids (including heavy metals, organic molecules, and antibiotics), and biomolecules (toxins, enzymes, and antigens).

MOFs represent a promising platform for constructing sensors that meet sensing technology’s essential characteristics, including high sensitivity, selectivity, and stability.

Cleanroom

Cleanrooms are designed to regulate the level of pollutants inside the rooms and securely contain hazardous substances at the same time.

Metal-organic frameworks offer reliable solutions to multiple risk factors in cleanroom conditions. MOFs can be applied for cleanrooms in these topics: humidity control, particle filtration, detecting and capturing hazardous gases and vapour.

MOF versatility makes them perfect to address specific requirements. Depending on the application, MOFs can be tuned to long-term cycle stability or controlled degradation.

Catalysis

MOFs can achieve high selectivity like biocatalysts (enzymes) in catalysis applications and yield up to 99%. Their implementation as a heterogeneous catalyst has been explored to synthesize value-added products from biowaste, fuels from CO2, and pharmaceuticals.

MOF catalysts show interesting features not commonly found in catalysts. For instance, a shape selectivity effect can be introduced with the controlled formation of micro/mesopores. With adequate functionalization, the diffusion of the reagent can be enhanced. The framework’s judicious design allows for control of the chemical environment around the catalytic site.