Multifunctional metal–organic frameworks: from academia to industrial applications
After three decades of intense and fundamental research on metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), is there anything left to say or to explain? The synthesis and properties of MOFs have already been comprehensively described elsewhere. It is time, however, to prove the nature of their true usability: technological applications based on these extended materials require development and implementation as a natural consequence of the up-to-known intensive research focused on their design and preparation. The current large number of reviews on MOFs emphasizes practical strategies to develop novel networks with varied crystal size, shape and topology, being mainly devoted to academic concerns. The present survey intends to push the boundaries and summarise the state-of-the-art on the preparation of promising (multi)functional MOFs in worldwide laboratories and their use as materials for industrial implementation. This review starts, on the one hand, to describe several tools and striking examples of remarkable and recent (multi)functional MOFs exhibiting outstanding properties (e.g., in gas adsorption and separation, selective sorption of harmful compounds, heterogeneous catalysis, luminescent and corrosion protectants). On the other hand, and in a second part, it intends to use these examples of MOFs to incite scientists to move towards the transference of knowledge from the laboratories to the industry. Within this context, we exhaustively review the many efforts of several worldwide commercial companies to bring functional MOFs towards the daily use, analysing the various patents and applications reported to date. Overall, this review goes from the very basic concepts of functional MOF engineering and preparation ending up in their industrial production on a large scale and direct applications in society.