Defect engineering-induced porosity in graphene quantum dots embedded metal-organic frameworks for enhanced benzene and toluene adsorption

Masood S. Alivand, Neda Haj Mohammad Hossein Tehrani, Mojtaba Askarieh, Ebrahim Ghasemy, Mehdi D. Esrafili, Raziyeh Ahmadi, Hossein Anisi, Omid Tavakoli, Alimorad Rashidi

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24 Citations (Scopus)


The emerging environmental issues necessitate the engineering of novel and well-designed nanoadsorbents for advanced separation and purification applications. Despite recent advances, the facile synthesis of hierarchical micro-mesoporous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with tuned structures has remained a challenge. Herein, we report a simple defect engineering approach to manipulate the framework, induce mesoporosity, and crease large pore volumes in MIL-101(Cr) by embedding graphene quantum dots (GQDs) during its self-assembly process. For instance, MIL-101@GQD-3 (Vmeso: 0.68 and Vtot: 1.87 cm3/g) exhibited 300.0% and 53.3% more meso and total pore volume compared to those of the conventional MIL-101 (Vmeso: 0.17 and Vtot: 1.22 cm3/g), respectively, resulting in 1.7 and 2.8 times greater benzene and toluene loading at 1 bar and 25 °C. In addition, we found that MIL-101@GQD-3 retained its superiority over a wide range of VOC concentrations and operating temperature (25–55 °C) with great cyclic capacity and energy-efficient regeneration. Considering the simplicity of the adopted technique to induce mesoporosity and tune the nanoporous structure of MOFs, the presented GQD incorporation technique is expected to provide a new pathway for the facile synthesis of advanced materials for environmental applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125973
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzene
  • Graphene quantum dot (GQD)
  • Hierarchical micro-mesoporous MIL-101(Cr)
  • Toluene
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

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