Metal-Organic Frameworks: Templates, Supports, and Surface Functionalisation of Pd Nanoclusters

Dr Petra Ágota Szilágyi
Queen Mary University of London, School of Materials Science and Engineering.

By Dr Petra Ágota Szilágyi, Queen Mary University of London, School of Materials Science and Engineering.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline materials and have high and regular porosity. They boast of topological and chemical tuneability. [1] They are therefore promising materials for supporting nano-objects within their pores. [2-5]
Recently, we have been able to demonstrate that both nanoclusters and single atoms of Pd may be immobilised and stabilised on functionalised MOFs in a combined experimental-theoretical approach (Figure 1). [6-7] Our newest research, which will be discussed here, reveals that by the adequate matching of linker functionality and guest materials, mostly transition metals, may allow for the controlled formation of ‘naked’ atom clusters (2-6 atoms). [8] I will review a powerful approach to both synthesise, model and experimentally probe these clusters.

It should be emphasised, that in this size regime the properties of materials display a higher size than chemistry dependence, therefore this approach unlocks the opportunity of the synthesis and eventual design of nano-composites with unprecedented properties. Hydrogen-metal interactions and their applications for heterogeneous catalysis, will also be discussed.

Figure 1. Illustration of the immobilisation of single ‘naked’ atoms of Pd on NH2-MIL-101(Cr) and the interaction of the single atoms with H2 molecules, reproduced from [7].


[1] Energy Environ. Sci. 2010:1469
[2] Chem. Soc. Rev. 2013:1807
[3] Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2010:3701
[4] CrystEngComm. 2015:199
[5] J. Mater. Chem. 2012:10102
[6] Chem. Commun. 2016:5175
[7] J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 2017:15559
[8] in preparation


Petra Ágota Szilágyi obtained PhDs in 2008 in Physics and in Chemistry from the University Paul Sabatier (France) and University Eötvös Loránd (Hungary), respectively. She has held postdoctoral positions at the Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry of the CNRS (Toulouse, France), Edinburgh University (Edinburgh, UK), and Delft University of Technology (Delft, the Netherlands). She has been a full-time academic at Curtin University (Perth, Australia), University of Greenwich (Medway, UK), and she has been working as a Lecturer in Functional Materials at the Queen Mary University of London (London, UK) since January 2018. She is the author of over 40 publications in the field of sustainable materials chemistry. Her current research is focussed on sustainably produced metal-organic frameworks for energy and environmental applications. She is associate editor of Frontiers in Energy Research and sits on the Board of Delegates of the European Materials Research Society. She is also a keen science communicator, for which she received the Media Fellowship of the British Science Association.