Fluorine-Boosted Kinetic and Selective Molecular Sieving of C6 Derivatives

by Basem Moosa, Lukman O. Alimi, Weibin Lin, Aliyah Fakim, Prashant M. Bhatt, Mohamed Eddaoudi, Niveen M. Khashab
Year: 2023 DOI: 10.1002/ange.202311555


Moosa, B., Alimi, L. O., Lin, W., Fakim, A., Bhatt, P. M., Eddaoudi, M., Khashab, N. M., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2023, e202311555.


Porous molecular sorbents have excellent selectivity towards hydrocarbon separation with energy saving techniques. However, to realize commercialization, molecular sieving processes should be faster and more efficient compared to extended frameworks. In this work, we show that utilizing fluorine to improve the hydrophobic profile of leaning pillararenes affords a substantial kinetic selective adsorption of benzene over cyclohexane (20 : 1 for benzene). The crystal structure shows a porous macrocycle that acts as a perfect match for benzene in both the intrinsic and extrinsic cavities with strong interactions in the solid state. The fluorinated leaning pillararene surpasses all reported organic molecular sieves and is comparable to the extended metal–organic frameworks that were previously employed for this separation such as UIO-66. Most importantly, this sieving system outperformed the well-known zeolitic imidazolate frameworks under low pressure, which opens the door to new generations of molecular sieves that can compete with extended frameworks for more sustainable hydrocarbon separation.