A new nanoporous material has a surface area higher than was thought to be physically possible. A few years ago researchers had calculated that 3,000 square meters per gram was the upper limit, but soon after, materials got up to about 4,000 square meters per gram. The record-breaking material, developed by materials scientists at the University of Michigan, has 5,200 square meters per gram. (A National Football League regulation field measures about 5,351 square meters.)
High-surface-area materials are important for catalysis, water filtration, fuel cleaning, and hydrogen storage. The new material is what’s called a metal-organic framework. It consists of a network of zinc oxide groups held together by hydrocarbon struts. It’s a higher surface-area version of previously developed material that’s very good at storing hydrogen. But the boost to surface area didn’t boost hydrogen storage, suggesting that other factors need to be investigated. This work, led by University of Michigan chemistry professor Adam Matzger, is described online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Our best illustrations of 2022
Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.
How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier
These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.
The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.