IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


5th July, 2024 Science and Technology


Source: PIB

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  • Researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Bengaluru have developed a new quantitative measure of mechanical flexibility for crystals, focusing on Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).


Key Findings

  • MOFs are known for their ability to absorb gases and act as filters due to their nanoporous structure.
  • Despite their potential, limited stability and mechanical weakness have restricted their broader application.
  • The traditional measure of flexibility in crystals is the elastic modulus, which gauges a material's resistance to strain-induced deformation.
  • The new measure, proposed by Professor Umesh V. Waghmare and his team, is based on the fractional release of elastic stress or strain energy through internal structural rearrangements under symmetry constraints.
  • The team's research highlights that flexibility in crystals arises from large structural rearrangements associated with both soft and hard vibrations, which strongly couple to strain fields.
  • This new understanding moves beyond traditional elastic property-focused studies, establishing flexibility as an intrinsic property of crystals.


  • The new measure offers a cost-effective and efficient method for identifying flexible materials, potentially leading to the design of ultraflexible crystals.
  • This theoretical framework can accelerate the discovery of next-generation materials with enhanced flexibility.
  • The findings have diverse applications, including gas storage, purification processes, and the development of advanced materials for various industries.
  • The ability to screen and identify flexible materials efficiently can lead to innovations in sectors such as energy, environmental remediation, and pharmaceuticals.

Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs)

  • Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)are a class of porous materials consisting of metal ions or clusters coordinated to organic ligands, forming a three-dimensional structure.
  • Known for their high surface area, tunable porosity, and diverse chemical functionality, MOFs have garnered significant attention in various scientific and industrial applications.

Structure and Components

  • Metal Nodes: MOFs can incorporate a wide range of metals, including transition metals (e.g., zinc, copper, iron), lanthanides, and actinides.
    • The metal nodes serve as coordination centers, connecting the organic ligands and providing structural stability.
  • Organic Linkers: Typically consist of carboxylates, azolates, or phosphonates. Common examples include benzene dicarboxylates (BDC), terephthalates, and imidazolates.
    • Linkers bridge the metal nodes, defining the framework's topology and porosity.
  • Framework Structure: MOFs exhibit various topologies, including cubic, tetragonal, and hexagonal structures.
    • The size and shape of the pores can be tuned by modifying the metal nodes and organic linkers, enabling selective adsorption and catalytic properties.

Properties of MOFs

  • High Surface Area: MOFs can have surface areas exceeding 7000 m²/g, making them highly effective for gas storage and separation.
  • Tunable Porosity: The pore size and shape can be adjusted by selecting different metal nodes and organic linkers, allowing for selective adsorption and separation processes.
  • Chemical Versatility: The diverse range of available metals and linkers provides a wide array of chemical functionalities, enabling MOFs to be tailored for specific applications.
  • Thermal and Chemical Stability: Many MOFs exhibit excellent stability under harsh conditions, making them suitable for industrial applications.

Applications of MOFs

  • Hydrogen Storage: MOFs can adsorb large volumes of hydrogen, offering potential for clean energy storage.
  • Carbon Dioxide Capture: MOFs can selectively capture CO₂ from gas mixtures, aiding in carbon capture and sequestration efforts.
  • Methane Storage: Used in natural gas storage and transportation due to their high methane adsorption capacity.
  • Heterogeneous Catalysis: MOFs can act as catalysts or catalyst supports in various chemical reactions, including hydrogenation, oxidation, and polymerization.
  • Enzyme Immobilization: MOFs can stabilize enzymes, enhancing their activity and reusability in biocatalysis.
  • Controlled Release: MOFs can encapsulate drugs and release them in a controlled manner, improving drug delivery efficiency and reducing side effects.
  • Targeted Delivery: Functionalized MOFs can target specific cells or tissues, enhancing the efficacy of treatments.
  • Chemical Sensors: MOFs can detect gases, vapors, and biomolecules with high sensitivity and selectivity.
  • Fluorescent Sensors: MOFs can be engineered to exhibit fluorescence in response to specific analytes, enabling real-time monitoring.
  • Heavy Metal Removal: MOFs can adsorb and remove heavy metals from water, contributing to water purification efforts.
  • Organic Pollutant Degradation: MOFs can catalyze the breakdown of organic pollutants, aiding in environmental cleanup.




Q: Metal-organic frameworks represent a versatile and rapidly evolving class of materials with significant potential in various fields. Comment. (150 Words)