Selective sorting of polymers with different terminal groups using metal-organic frameworks

Benjamin Le Ouay, Chikara Watanabe, Shuto Mochizuki, Masayoshi Takayanagi, Masataka Nagaoka, Takashi Kitao, Takashi Uemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Separation of high-molecular-weight polymers differing just by one monomeric unit remains a challenging task. Here, we describe a protocol using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for the efficient separation and purification of mixtures of polymers that differ only by their terminal groups. In this process, polymer chains are inserted by threading one of their extremities through a series of MOF nanowindows. Selected termini can be adjusted by tuning the MOF structure, and the insertion methodology. Accordingly, MOFs with permanently opened pores allow for the complete separation of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) based on steric hindrance of the terminal groups. Excellent separation is achieved, even for high molecular weights (20 kDa). Furthermore, the dynamic character of a flexible MOF is used to separate PEG mixtures with very similar terminal moieties, such as OH, OMe, and OEt, as the slight difference of polarity in these groups significantly changes the pore opening kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3635
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Selective sorting of polymers with different terminal groups using metal-organic frameworks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this