Metal-Organic Frameworks with Tunable Hydrophilicity for Water Adsorption Applications

Technology #16317

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Professor Mircea Dinca
Department of Chemistry, MIT
External Link (
Professor Wade Casey
Department of Chemistry, Brandeis University
External Link (
Managed By
Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Compositions and methods comprising porous metal organic frameworks and related uses

US Patent Pending 2014-0326007
Postsynthetic tuning of hydrophilicity in pyrazolate MOFs to modulate water adsorption properties
Energy & Environmental Science, 2013, p. 2172


The described method generates porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), consisting of organic compounds coordinated to metal ions, with tunable hydrophilic properties as water adsorbents. These structures have water adsorption properties suitable for heat-storage or heat pumping applications.

Problem Addressed

Metal organic frameworks are of interest as adsorbents in water adsorption-based heat pumps due to their increased water loading capacities compared to traditionally used materials such as silicas and zeolites. MOFs also allow for unprecedented control over their structural and chemical functionality. The water adsorption behaviors of the few water-stable MOFs containing carboxylate-based ligands, such as MIL-101 (Cr) and MIL-100 (Fe), have been studied in some detail. While they have evidenced characteristics desirable in heat pump adsorbents, they appear to be hydrolytically unstable.


Therefore, the inventors have investigated the water adsorption behaviors of a novel set of MOFs containing pyrazolate­­-based organic ligands and other N-containing heterocyclic end groups reported to have exceptional water stability for applications in water adsorption-based heat pumping.Specifically, they have developed a new set of water stable Zn2+–pyrazolate MOFs, then post-synthetically oxidized the material with dimethyldioxirane to render the hydrophobic channel interiors more hydrophilic. The increased hydrophilicity of the chemically treated MOF materials results in changes in the water adsorption profile of the modified versus parent materials.

Such tunability of the water adsorption characteristics of these new adsorbents is potentially desirable in water adsorption applications such as heat transfer, pumping and storage. Hydrophobic materials have low regeneration temperatures that can allow for the use of low-temperature waste heat or solar collectors as energy sources. Alternatively, more hydrophilic materials might function under more extreme conditions (i.e. provide lower cooling temperature and/or adsorb water at higher external temperatures) and/or achieve large water exchange capacities over a desired working pressure or temperature range.


  • MOFs are energetically efficient and environmentally friendly
  • MOF materials can be accessed in large scale via a modular synthetic approach
  • Tunable hydrophobicity of MOFS allows for wide range of water adsorption applications