The research team led by Professor Yaqian Lan made a significant breakthrough with the findings on the conductive controlling and promoting in Metal-Organic frameworks.
Challenged by the fact of the gradual consumption of non-renewable energy resources and the rising environmental problem, there was an urgent call reminding people to take steps in exploring and developing new renewable energy resources in high quality, safety and cleanness. With advantages in high energy conversion efficiency, low pollution emission and low temperature start, proton-conductivity battery was regarded as the most promising new type researched and developed by many world-class scientific and technical corporations. But the costly materials, and harsh temperature and humidness required in the processing period hindered the development and utilization of the battery, which was put as the key researching point by many research institutions to find some materials for replacement with exquisite and high efficiency but in lower price.
Cooperated with the American professor Caihong Zhou, Yaqian Lan’s research team came up with the model of Fe-MOF with originate structure and high stability to solve the mentioned problems. The model included an Fe–MOF as the blank, an imidazole@Fe–MOF (Im@Fe–MOF) with physically adsorbed imidazole, and an imidazole–Fe–MOF (Im–Fe–MOF), which contained chemically coordinated imidazole molecules. The high proton conductivity of 1.21 × 10–2 S cm–1 at 60 °C for Im–Fe–MOF ranked among the highest performing MOFs ever reported. Under such circumstance, Im-Fe-MOF was regarded as one of the best kind of MOFs materials for proton conductivity approximately the same as what was used in commercial Nafion. The results of the density functional theory calculations suggest that coordinated imidazole molecules in Im–Fe–MOF provide a greater concentration of protons for proton transportation than do coordinated water molecules in Fe–MOF alone. The investigation using the above ideal crystalline model system demonstrated that compared to disorderly arranged imidazole molecules in pores, the immobilized imidazole molecules by coordination bonds in the framework are more prone to form proton–conduction pathways and thus performed better and steadier in water-mediated proton conduction.
The article named Effect of Imidazole Arrangements on Proton-Conductivity in Metal-Organic Frameworks was published on the Journal of the American Chemical Society. JACS is currently the most influential periodical in the field of international chemistry whose impact factor reached 13.038 in 2016.
The first author of the article is Fengming Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow, and Longzhang Dong, a senior student. It was rare to see an undergraduate to make the paper published in JACS nationwide and it was also the first time that NNU undergraduate made it. Since the joining of Professor Yaqian Lan’s research team in the first year in undergraduate education, he had published many articles in the top international periodicals including Nature Communications, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie International Edition and Advanced Materials etc. Longzhang Dong earned the third prize in the National Science and Technology Contest, the special award in the entrepreneurial planning competition, the National Encouragement Scholarship and other prizes.