Project: Research council

Project Details


Catalysts increase the speed of reactions without themselves being changed. This research aims to develop a new series of solid catalysts that we intend to use to produce cyclic compounds using cycloaddition reactions. Our catalysts are metal-organic frameworks (abbreviated to MOFs) which are comprised of a grid-like assembly of metal atoms and organic linkers. MOFs are relatively new materials and use of them for catalysing reactions is very rare. They have, however, great promise as they contain pores in which the reactions occur, and the size and shapes of these pores can be controlled by altering the organic linkers thus altering the reaction conditions in the pores.Many natural and synthetic compounds are chiral, which means they can exist in left-handed and right-handed forms that are mirror images of each other. Chirality is important in the production of drugs as usually only one of the two possible left- or right-handed drug molecules is biologically active. We will investigate if by using chiral MOF catalysts we can produce reaction products that are themselves chiral i.e. only left or right-handed.To undertake these studies we intend to attack the problem from different points of view: 1) using synthetic chemistry to produce MOF catalysts in the laboratory and subsequently testing their viability for chiral cycloaddition reactions; 2) using computer simulations to predict how these catalysts could work at a molecular level; and 3) measuring the diffusion and adsorption properties of the catalysts to find out how the reagents move into the pores and how the molecules interact with the catalyst. By combining these three approaches we hope to produce more efficient catalysts that produce cycloaddition products in a pure state and as one chirality, either 'left' or 'right'.
Effective start/end date11/02/0830/09/11


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council