Polymer nanosieve membranes for CO2-capture applications

Nat Mater. 2011 May;10(5):372-5. doi: 10.1038/nmat2989. Epub 2011 Apr 3.


Microporous organic polymers (MOPs) are of potential significance for gas storage, gas separation and low-dielectric applications. Among many approaches for obtaining such materials, solution-processable MOPs derived from rigid and contorted macromolecular structures are promising because of their excellent mass transport and mass exchange capability. Here we show a class of amorphous MOP, prepared by [2+3] cycloaddition modification of a polymer containing an aromatic nitrile group with an azide compound, showing super-permeable characteristics and outstanding CO(2) separation performance, even under polymer plasticization conditions such as CO(2)/light gas mixtures. This unprecedented result arises from the introduction of tetrazole groups into highly microporous polymeric frameworks, leading to more favourable CO(2) sorption with superior affinity in gas mixtures, and selective CO(2) transport by presorbed CO(2) molecules that limit access by other light gas molecules. This strategy provides a direction in the design of MOP membrane materials for economic CO(2) capture processes.