Synthesis of Thin Film Composite Metal-Organic Frameworks Membranes on Polymer Supports

  • Eva Barankova

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Since the discovery of size-selective metal-organic frameworks (MOF) researchers have tried to manufacture them into gas separation membranes. ZIF-8 became the most studied MOF for membrane applications mainly because of its simple synthesis, good chemical and thermal stability, recent commercial availability and attractive pore size. The aim of this work is to develop convenient methods for growing ZIF thin layers on polymer supports to obtain defect-free ZIF membranes with good gas separation properties. We present new approaches for ZIF membranes preparation on polymers. We introduce zinc oxide nanoparticles in the support as a secondary metal source for ZIF-8 growth. Initially the ZnO particles were incorporated into the polymer matrix and later on the surface of the polymer by magnetron sputtering. In both cases, the ZnO facilitated to create more nucleation opportunities and improved the ZIF-8 growth compared to the synthesis without using ZnO. By employing the secondary seeded growth method, we were able to obtain thin (900 nm) ZIF-8 layer with good gas separation performance. Next, we propose a metal-chelating polymer as a suitable support for growing ZIF layers. Defect-free ZIF-8 films with a thickness of 600 nm could be obtained by a contra-diffusion method. ZIF-8 membranes were tested for permeation of hydrogen and hydrocarbons, and one of the highest selectivities reported so far for hydrogen/propane, and propylene/propane was obtained. Another promising method to facilitate the growth of MOFs on polymeric supports is the chemical functionalization of the support surface with functional groups, which can complex metal ions and which can covalently bond the MOF crystals. We functionalized the surface of a common porous polymeric membrane with amine groups, which took part in the reaction to form ZIF-8 nanocrystals. We observed an enhancement in adhesion between the ZIF layer and the support. The effect of parameters of the contra-diffusion experiment (such as temperature lower than room temperature and synthesis times shorter than 1 hour) on ZIF-8 membrane properties was evaluated. We could prepare one of the thinnest (around 200 nm) yet selective ZIF-8 films reported.
Date of AwardJun 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorKlaus-Victor Peinemann (Supervisor)


  • Metal organic framework
  • MOF membrane
  • MOF Polymer Membrane
  • ZIF-8
  • Gas separation
  • Thin film composite membrane

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