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Pioneering Path to Electrical Conductivity in 'tinkertoy' Materials to Appear in Science

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Researchers measure the conductivity of a metal-organic framework device.

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Mark Allendorf, left, Alec Talin, center, and Francois Leonard developed a technique that increases the electrical conductivity of one metal-organic framework device by more than six orders of magnitude.

Credit: Dino Vournas

Sandia National Laboratory researchers have developed a method to realize electrical conductivity in metal-organic framework (MOF) materials, a breakthrough the researchers say could have major implications for the future of electronics. They say the new method could increase the electrical conductivity of one MOF by over six orders of magnitude.

"Fundamentally, this sheds enormous light on the conduction process in these materials," says Sandia researcher Alec Talin. He notes that the conductivity in the material is now 1 million times higher than that of the starting material, and 1,000 times higher than anything previously reported using a metal-organic framework.

MOFs have the potential to create molecular electronic devices on the scale of their pore dimensions, or about one nanometer. In the future, "we'd like to experiment with different MOF structures and different organic molecules to see if new behavior emerges," Talin says.

Sandia researcher Mark Allendorf says electrically conducting MOFs could find use in chemical sensing, medical diagnostics, energy harvesting, and storage and microelectronics.

From Sandia National Laboratories
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