Investigating the Potential of the HKUST-1 Metal-Organic Framework for Ammonia Adsorption

Student Author(s)

Landon Brower
Brandon Bowser

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Mary Anderson, Chemistry

Document Type


Event Date



This research explores the ammonia adsorption capabilities specific to three variations of the HKUST-1 metal-organic framework (MOF) system: bulk powders, drop-cast films, and surface-anchored thin films. Samples were synthesized, characterized, and exposed to pure ammonia gas in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of how the framework responds when exposed to harmful gas molecules. Literature has shown that the as-synthesized HKUST-1 system contains water molecules coordinated to the axial positions of the copper-carboxylic acid paddlewheel structure. Further research described herein has uncovered the presence of not only water molecules, but also other solvent molecules. Paddlewheel adsorbates alter the interaction of the ammonia gas with the framework, resulting in significant morphological change. The activation of the framework, or the removal the guest molecules via heat, has been shown to prevent the drastic change in morphology. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and powder x-ray diffraction were used to characterize samples before and after ammonia exposure, tracking uptake of ammonia, as well as monitoring changes in both morphology and crystal structure. Future work will investigate different potentially harmful gases and additional MOF systems.


This research was supported by the Hope College Chemistry Department, National Science Foundation, and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.

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