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Catalytic and Conductive Framework Materials


About Prof. Xu Zhengtao and His Team

After BS (1996) at Peking University, Xu had a plan for organic chemistry, but ended up with a PhD from Cornell on coordination networks (MOFs). After postdoc at IBM and faculty appointments at George Washington University—as life would have it— Xu started anew in Hong Kong (2005), became a professor in 2015, and relocated to Singapore in 2022. Our work at IMRE/A*STAR carries forth the interest in catalytic and (super)conductive frameworks. Xu also enjoy Tolstoy, Schopenhauer and other classics.
Our team members will be able to closely integrate molecular design/synthesis and the study of porous framework materials (MOF, COF and open cage compounds), in order to open broad new horizons in materials science. We are spearheading three forefront directions in open framework materials: 1) crystalline carbon frameworks (CCMs); 2) sulfur-functionalized metal-organic frameworks (SMOFs); 3) superconductive coordination polymers. In these three areas, the key properties of stability and reactivity are organically united in the open framework medium, such that the powerful sulfur functions and highly conjugated graphene motifs are driving deep innovations across catalysis, semiconductors, sensors, heavy metal removal, energy conversion/storage and superprotonic conductor and superconductor technologies.


Webpage Figure 1 nanographene MOF2

Crystalline carbon frameworks for single-atom catalysis and sustainable development

Webpage Figure 2 CO2 ZrDMBD

Sulfur-equipped MOF solids for electrocatalysis, CO2 reduction, solar cell and battery applications

Webpage Figure 3 superconductive MOF3

Superconducting coordination polymers 

Highlights & Achievements

  1. "Telltale Diamagnetism at 50 K of a Coordination Polymer System", J. He*, Z. Liu, L. Tang, X. Ye, J. Hu, Z. Xu*, Materials Research Letters, 2022, 10, 496-500.

  2. "Uniting Form and Function, Stability and Reactivity in Open Framework Materials",  Z. Xu*, Chem. Lett., 2021, 4, 627-631. (Invited Commemorative Highlight Review)

  3. ''2D Metal-Organic Framework for Stable Perovskite Solar Cells with Minimized Lead Leakage'', Nature Nanotechnology, 2020, 15, 934-940.

  4. "Dramatic Improvement of Stability and Electroactivity by Linker Cyclization of a Metal-Organic Framework", Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 9470-9473.

  5. "Metallation triggers single crystalline order in a porous solid", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 14852-14855.

  6. "An Electroactive Porous Network from Covalent Metal-Dithiolene Links" J. Cui and Z. Xu*, Chem. Commun., 2014, 50, 3986-3988.

  7. "Effective Mercury Sorption by Thiol-Laced Metal-organic Frameworks", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 7795-7798.