The Chameleon of the Material World
With current uses ranging from delivering drugs to destroying chemical warfare agents, a metal-organic framework (MOF) may soon add one more item to its resume: fuel production. The framework is made with metal atoms linked together in an open network and resembles a skyscraper's scaffolding. The open "rooms" can be filled with designer molecules that turn solar energy into fuels. But the frameworks typically don't conduct electricity. That's a problem for devices designed to turn sunlight and water into hydrogen fuel. The scientists at the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center showed that a framework can conduct electricity and handle conditions found in such fuel-producing devices. The Center is led by Northwestern University.
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