Discovery of an Optimal Porous Crystalline Material for the Capture of Chemical Warfare Agents

Matito-Martos, Ismael; Moghadam, Peyman Z.; Li, Aurelia; Colombo, Valentina; Navarro, Jorge A. R.; Calero, Sofia; Fairen-Jimenez, David

VL / 30 - BP / 4571 - EP / 4579
Chemical warfare agents (CWAs) are regarded as a critical challenge in our society. Here, we use a high-throughput computational screening strategy backed up by experimental validation to identify and synthesize a promising porous material for CWA removal under humid conditions. Starting with a database of 2,932 existing metal organic framework (MOF) structures, we selected those possessing cavities big enough to adsorb well-known CWAs such as sarin, soman, and mustard gas as well as their nontoxic simulants. We used Widom method to reduce significantly the simulation time of water adsorption, allowing us to shortlist 156 hydrophobic MOFs where water will not compete with the CWAs to get adsorbed. We then moved to grand canonical Monte Carlo (GCMC) simulations to assess the removal capacity of CWAs. We selected the best candidates in terms of performance but also in terms of chemical stability and moved to synthesis and experimental breakthrough adsorption to probe the predicted, excellent performance. This computational-experimental work represents a fast and efficient approach to screen porous materials in applications that involve the presence of moisture.

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