Selective nitrogen capture by porous hybrid materials containing accessible transition metal ion sites

Ji Woong Yoon, Hyunju Chang, Seung Joon Lee, Young Kyu Hwang, Do Young Hong, Su Kyung Lee, Ji Sun Lee, Seunghun Jang, Tae Ung Yoon, Kijeong Kwac, Yousung Jung, Renjith S. Pillai, Florian Faucher, Alexandre Vimont, Marco Daturi, Gérard Férey, Christian Serre, Guillaume Maurin, Youn Sang Bae, Jong San Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)


Selective dinitrogen binding to transition metal ions mainly covers two strategic domains: biological nitrogen fixation catalysed by metalloenzyme nitrogenases, and adsorptive purification of natural gas and air. Many transition metal-dinitrogen complexes have been envisaged for biomimetic nitrogen fixation to produce ammonia. Inspired by this concept, here we report mesoporous metal-organic framework materials containing accessible Cr(III) sites, able to thermodynamically capture N2 over CH4 and O2. This fundamental study integrating advanced experimental and computational tools confirmed that the separation mechanism for both N2/CH4 and N2/O2 gas mixtures is driven by the presence of these unsaturated Cr(III) sites that allows a much stronger binding of N2 over the two other gases. Besides the potential breakthrough in adsorption-based technologies, this proof of concept could open new horizons to address several challenges in chemistry, including the design of heterogeneous biomimetic catalysts through nitrogen fixation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-531
Number of pages6
JournalNature materials
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Yoon, J. W., Chang, H., Lee, S. J., Hwang, Y. K., Hong, D. Y., Lee, S. K., Lee, J. S., Jang, S., Yoon, T. U., Kwac, K., Jung, Y., Pillai, R. S., Faucher, F., Vimont, A., Daturi, M., Férey, G., Serre, C., Maurin, G., Bae, Y. S., & Chang, J. S. (2017). Selective nitrogen capture by porous hybrid materials containing accessible transition metal ion sites. Nature materials, 16(5), 526-531.