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Metal Organics for Chemical Sensing

Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are an emerging class of porous coordination polymers with applications in gas storage to chemical sensing. The goal of our research on MOFs is to develop a reliable and facile method for fabricating chemiresistive sensors for wearable applications. Our unique approach builds on the recent discovery of conductive metal-organic frame-works (MOF), which are highly ordered crystals with tunable intrinsic nanoporosity, allowing the formation of highly selective ion trapping sites. We investigate the use of MOF-fibers as sensing elements for monitoring ion concentrations in body liquids, such as sweat. The two central goals of this project are the implementation of specificity by tuning the MOF fabrication parameters and finding innovative methods for a simple integration with textiles and electronics for data acquisition. Within this research work, we modulate the MOFs’ porosity and conductivity by varying ligand coordination chemistry, extent of π-π conjugation plane of the ligand, and type and oxidation state of the metal ion. The structures are evaluated based on electrical, mechanical and ion filtering properties in order to test the possibility to develop a multi-sensing array of MOF fiber segments. For scaling the set high goals of this project, we capitalise on the expertise within smart textiles and microfluidics of the laboratory of Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles at EMPA, St Gallen.

Figure 1: Conductivity plot of MOF film consisting of copper and two ligands measured in vaccum and upon exposure to nitrogen. Inset upper right: 4-point probe IV characteristics of MOF film. Inset bottom left: optical image of black MOF film deposited on a glass slide patterned with gold electrodes. Facilities: 4-point probe station: Imina technologies miBots probes in vaccum, measurements can be performed using an NI USB 6289 DQ card using a custom designed current amplifier designed at the University of Basel (LSK389A). SEM+FIB: FEI Helios 660 G3 UC. XRD: Panalytical X'pert, TGA: Netzsch TG 209 F1and DSC: Netzsch DSC 214


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