The University of Southampton

CHEM6106 Functional Framework Materials

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Have an appreciation of the societal and economic importance of wide-ranging classes of porous materials e.g. zeolites, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), covalent organic frameworks, and porous organic cages.
  • Be able to analyse network topology and calculate important parameters (e.g. BET and Langmuir surface areas) pertinent to the characterisation and classification of porous materials.
  • Have a clear understanding of the underlying chemical and structural requirements of MOFs for use in wide-ranging applications (e.g. hydrogen storage, drug delivery, carbon capture, molecular separation), and how these can be related to materials design.
  • Have knowledge of how porous framework materials can respond to external stimuli by exploiting physical principles such as spin crossover and luminescence, and how such materials can be used as switches and sensors.


The syllabus, which is described in outline below, is aligned with the following QAA benchmark statements for chemistry at FHEQ Level 7 (Masters). • to extend students' comprehension of key chemical concepts and so provide them with an in-depth understanding of specialised areas of chemistry; • to develop in students the ability to adapt and apply methodology to the solution of unfamiliar types of problems; • to instill a critical awareness of advances at the forefront of the chemical science discipline; • to prepare students effectively for professional employment or doctoral studies in the chemical sciences; • the ability to adapt and apply methodology to the solution of unfamiliar problems; • knowledge base extends to a systematic understanding and critical awareness of topics which are informed by the forefront of the discipline; • problems of an unfamiliar nature are tackled with appropriate methodology and taking into account the possible absence of complete data. This module will cover the synthesis, structure and properties of porous materials and, while the emphasis is on functional metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), other important classes of porous materials will also be presented. Building upon these underlying principles of MOF chemistry, this module will also address the chemistry and applications of stimuli-responsive framework materials. This is a research level course and the underlying chemistry will be illustrated with up to date examples and case studies from the scientific literature. It is expected that the following topics will be explored: • The importance of porous materials and their classification, including the BET and Langmuir models of surface area. • Synthesis and properties of zeolites and mesoporous silicas, including templating strategies. • Application of topological analysis to network description, including decoration and augmentation as strategies to increase pore size. The advantages and disadvantages of network interpenetration will also be covered. • Development and synthesis of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and their relationship to zeolites, in particular the secondary building unit approach and isoreticular chemistry. MOFs will be compared to other classes of porous materials in terms of their structure and stability. Post-synthetic modification strategies for framework functionalisation will also be discussed. • The design and use of MOFs in the following applications: storage and separation of strategically important gases (H2, CO2, CH4), drug delivery and catalysis. For each application the challenges will be discussed and an evaluation of how these can be addressed by frameworks presented. A discussion of the increasing use of molecular dynamics simulations will also be included, and the need to prepare application-specific configurations will be explored. • Spin Cross-Over Frameworks (SCOFs) – metal based frameworks that undergo a reversible change in spin-state (High-Spin to Low-spin) and how these have applications as temperature, gas and pressure sensors. The underlying magnetic principles and their characterisation will be covered, including factors that influence SCO from a materials design perspective.. • Lanthanide Luminescent Frameworks (Ln-MOFs) – the photophysical properties of trivalent lanthanides make them ideal candidates for generating responsive Ln-MOFs for sensing. Building on CHEM3037/6094 , the photophysical properties of Ln3+ ions and the antenna effect will be recapped, and we will address the basic design principles for Ln-MOFs and their sensing applications.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods: Lectures, directed reading, Bb online support. Learning methods: Independent study, student motivated peer group study, student driven tutor support

Follow-up work29
Practical classes and workshops4
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Total study time75

Resources & Reading list

J. Rouquerol, F. Rouquerol and K. S. W. Sing (1998). Adsorption by Powders and Porous Solids: Principles, Methodology and Applications. 

Malcolm A. Halcrow. Spin-Crossover Materials: Properties and Applications. 

Simon Cotton. Lanthanide and Actinide Chemistry. 

Ed. Leonard R MacGillivray (2010). Metal-Organic Frameworks: Design and Application. 

(2014). MOF special issue. Chemical Society Reviews. ,43 , pp. 5415.

(2009). MOF special issue. Chemical Society Reviews. ,38 , pp. 1215-1508.

A.F. Orchid. Magnetochemistry. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1 hours) 100%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: CHEM3037 or CHEM6094.

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