While zeolitic imidazolate framework, ZIF-8, membranes show impressive propylene/propane separation, their throughput needs to be greatly improved for practical applications. A method is described that drastically reduces the effective thickness of ZIF-8 membranes, thereby substantially improving their propylene permeance (that is, flux). The new strategy is based on a controlled single-crystal to single-crystal linker exchange of 2-methylimidazole in ZIF-8 membrane grains with 2-imidazolecarboxaldehyde (ZIF-90 linker), thereby enlarging the effective aperture size of ZIF-8. The linker-exchanged ZIF-8 membranes showed a drastic increase in propylene permeance by about four times, with a negligible loss in propylene/propane separation factor when compared to as-prepared membranes. The linker-exchange effect depends on the membrane synthesis method.
Keywords: ZIF-8; gas separation; metal-organic frameworks; postsynthetic linker exchange; thin films.
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