Nanoarchitectured porous carbons derived from ZIFs toward highly sensitive and selective QCM sensor for hazardous aromatic vapors

Nagy L. Torad, Jeonghun Kim, Minjun Kim, Hyunsoo Lim, Jongbeom Na, Saad M. Alshehri, Tansir Ahamad, Yusuke Yamauchi, Miharu Eguchi, Bing Ding, Xiaogang Zhang

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a versatile source of carbon nanoarchitectures in gas sensing applications (Torad et al., 2019). Herein, several types of nanoporous carbons (NPCs) have been prepared by in-situ carbothermal treatment of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) under different inert atmospheres to achieve a highly sensitive discrimination of vaporized aromatic compounds. In this study, we demonstrate how different carbonization conditions under the flow of N2 or H2 gases affect the surface area and the degree of graphitization of the resulting NPCs polyhedrons, and their consequent effect on the sensing performance in terms of sensitivity and selectivity toward toxic volatile hydrocarbons. A growth of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is observed on the surface of polyhedral NPCs after careful carbonization of ZIF crystals under H2 atmosphere. The fabricated quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor with CNT-containing NPCs demonstrates increased sensitivity and selectivity towards toxic volatile aromatic hydrocarbons over the aliphatic analogues, suggesting the rich growth of hairy graphitic-like CNTs on the surface of carbon framework act as highly selective sensing antennae for vapor molecular discrimination of toxic aromatic hydrocarbons. Despite of increased selectivity towards volatile aromatic compounds, however, the surface area of CNT-rich NPCs derived from hybrid ZIFs and ZIF-67 is greatly sacrificed as compared to CNT-free NPCs from ZIF-8 polyhedron. In the case of Co-containing ZIF-67, the rich growth of hair-like CNTs, which is induced by the presence of Co, is observed during carbothermal reduction under a flow of H2 gas, thus allowing ultra-selective detection of aromatic hydrocarbons in the vapor phase, such as benzene (C6H6) and toluene (C6H5CH3) over their aliphatic analogue, c-hexane (c-C6H12) of same molecular mass, size and vapor pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124248
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship ( FT150100479 ) and Linkage ( LP180100429 ), Australia. This work was performed in part at the Queensland node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility, a company established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy to provide nano and microfabrication facilities for Australia’s researchers. Saad M. Alshehri and Tansir Ahamad extend their sincere appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding the Research Group, Project Number ( RG-1435-007 ), King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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