Handling Fluorinated Gases as Solid Reagents Using Metal–Organic Frameworks

Phillip Milner reports on the use of MOFs in handling fluorinated gases as solid reagents.

Fluorine is an essential element in medicine, agriculture, bio-medical imaging, polymer chemistry, and beyond. However, organofluorine compounds are essentially xenobiotic – i.e. not available naturally – therefore their availability nearly exclusively relies on the capacity of organic chemists to develop suitable synthetic routes to these molecules. Substituting fluorine for ubiquitous hydrogen atoms can yield drug candidates with improved metabolic stability, bioavailability, and/or protein binding affinity. However, the extreme reactivity of fluorinating reagents complicates the installation of fluorinated functional groups.
Compared to solids and liquids, gases are much more difficult to use in the laboratory, making high­throughput reaction discovery with gaseous reagents laborious and hazardous. “When working with gaseous reagents, most synthetic chemists rely on either complicated reaction setups or generation of the gas indirectly,” said Professor Phillip J. Milner from Cornell University (Ithaca, USA). His group hypothesized that fluorinated gases could be reversibly bound within MOFs via selective non­covalent interactions, allowing for their handling as stable solid reagents in the laboratory.

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