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Inorganic Chemistry


JProf. Dr. Sebastian Henke


Technische Universität Dortmund
Anorganische Chemie
Otto-Hahn-Str. 6
D-44227 Dortmund

Room: C2-07-176

Phone: +49 231 755 3976
Fax: +49 231 755 5048


Research Overview_v2_600

Welcome to our webpage. We are materials chemists working at the interface of solid-state and molecular chemistry. Our goal is to construct functional materials via a modular approach utilising Werner-type coordination chemistry. By self-assembly of inorganic and organic building units we synthesize extended (2D or 3D) coordination networks (or metal-organic frameworks, MOFs) with interesting ;chemical and physical properties (porosity, flexibility, disorder, etc.). Ultimately, we want to modulate the functional properties of our materials systematically by chemical principles.


Open Positions

Several exciting research topics in the area of flexible MOFs (gas sorption, temperature-driven phase transitions) are available for Bachelor and Master theses.
If interested, please contact Sebastian Henke by email.




Exploration Grant of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation to investigate the ionic conductivity of MOF glasses


The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation funds our project to study the ionic conductivity of MOF glasses. MOF glasses are a new class of nanoporous solids that can be processed in their liquid state, which is a conceptual advantage over the classical crystalline solid electrolytes. For this project we are looking for a talented electrochemist with profound experience in electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (postdoc level) to join our group. Please see the job ad here. Applications of interested candidates can be send by email to Sebastian Henke.



Experiment! – New grant from the Volkswagen Foundation to explore porous liquids


The Volkswagen Foundation approved our grant in the frame of the funding program "Experiment!”  In this explorative project, we will investigate the gas sorption behaviour of porous liquids based on colloidal metal-organic framework (MOF) suspensions. For this purpose, we are seeking a highly motivated and talented postdoc to join our group. If you are interested, please see the job ad



Chiral Glow - DFG funds our joint research project with the Steffen Group


Within the frame of the DFG priority programme 1928 COORNETs (Coordination Networks: Building Blocks for Functional Systems) we received funding for an exciting collaborative project with the group of Prof. Andreas Steffen. The Steffen and Henke Groups will join forces to utilize specifically designed MOFs as host matrices for chiral organometallic Cu(I) complexes. These chiral compounds can exhibit circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) with a yet to fully explore potential in enantioselective sensors, data storage, (3D-)OLEDs, or ultrafast switching in quantum cryptographical applications. We will follow a specific design strategy to obtain beneficial CPL properties in single crystals, powders and films, and finally employ these new materials in CP-PhOLEDs (circularly polarized phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes).



EuroMOF 2019 in Paris


Louis, Pascal and Roman presented their work on porous sodium organic salts, flexible frameworks and MOF glasses at "EuroMOF 2019 - The 3rd International Conference on Metal Organic Frameworks and Porous Polymers" in Paris. We thank the DFG priority programme 1928 "COORNETs" and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker e.V. for their generous support.



Paper Published in JACS: Porous Metal Imidazolate Glasses Can Separate Hydrocarbons


Louis’ paper on zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF) glasses has just been accepted for publication by JACS. 


Meltable Mixed-Linker Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks and Their Microporous Glasses - From Melting Point Engineering to Selective Hydrocarbon Sorption
L. Frentzel-Beyme, M. Kloss, P. Kolodzeiski, R. Pallach, S. Henke*
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b05558.


We report a synthetic strategy for melting point engineering of crystalline ZIFs. Via a linker mixing approach the melting point of a prototypical ZIF material is decreased to only about 370 °C – a record low for these kind of materials. This sets the stage for the development of lower temperature processing techniques for porous ZIF liquids and glasses. Melting the ZIF crystals followed by cooling the liquid to room temperature yields porous ZIF glasses, which feature pores large enough to adsorb various hydrocarbon gases. Importantly, kinetic sorption profiles indicate that the glasses are able to separate propylene from propane; one of the most important separation problems of the chemical industry.


Spotlight on Elastic Porous Crystals


We are very happy that our Chemical Science Paper on the mechanical-pressure-driven open pore to closed pore phase transitions of a family of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) has been highlighted in the Annual Review of Diamond Light Source. This work benefited a lot from the world class X-ray diffraction equipment available at beamline I15 of Diamond Light Source.

To read the Annual Report click here (see page 60 for our work).


Three Great Theses in 2018


Julia Kuhnt, Marvin Kloß and Stefan Koop performed their Master‘s research projects in our group and successfully defended their theses in 2018. Topics covered range from metal-organic framework glasses and photo-switchable MOFs to hybrid inorganic-organic perovskites. Congratulations and all the best for your future research projects.


Purple, Paramagnetic, Porous - The First Cobalt Imidazolate Glass


Louis' and Marvin's paper on a permanently porous cobalt-based zeolitic imidazolate framework glass has just been accepted for publication in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

"Porous purple glass - A cobalt imidazolate glass with accessible porosity from a meltable cobalt imidazolate framework"
L. Frentzel-Beyme, M. Kloß, R. Pallach, S. Salamon, H. Moldenhauer, J. Landers, H. Wende, J. Debus, S. Henke*, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, DOI: 10.1039/C8TA08016J.

MOF glasses represent a new class of functional materials which might have a number of advantages against their crystalline counterparts. We have developed the very first cobalt-based zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF) that can be melted and transformed into a glass. In collaboration with colleagues from the Physics Departments of TU Dortmund and the University of Duisburg-Essen, we investigated the structural, thermodynamic and magnetic properties of this new material. Importantly, the liquid and glass phases of the ZIF preserve almost 50% of the porosity of the crystalline parent material. This finding might pave the way for the application of liquid and glassy MOFs in gas separation processes and catalysis.


MOF 2018 in Auckland New Zealand


Louis, Roman und Sebastian presented the freshest results from the group's research at the 6th International  Conference on Metal-Organic Frameworks & Open Framework Compounds ‘MOF 2018’ in Auckland, New Zealand. It has been a fantastic conference with lots of fascinating science, excellent talks and great people. We are looking forward to “EuroMOF 2019" in Paris next year and  ‘MOF 2020’ in Dresden in two years.


DAAD-Travel Grant for Louis Frentzel-Beyme


We are delighted that Louis received a travel grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to present his work on porous sodium-organic frameworks at the 6th International Conference on Metal-Organic Frameworks & Open Framework Compounds ‘MOF2018’ in Auckland, New Zealand, this year. Great job!.


Funding for Porous Salts


Most MOFs are based on di-, tri- or tetravalent metal ions (e.g. Zn2+, Cu2+, Al3+, Zr4+ etc.). Porous frameworks composed of monovalent alkali ions (Li+, Na+, K+) linked by organic anions are rare, however. We are very happy that the DFG decided to fund our project on “Porous Alkali-Organic Frameworks - From Design towards Application”. First examples of these new materials, which can be regarded as porous alkali-organic salts (see Figure), will be reported soon.




Sebastian received a Max-Buchner-Scholarship from DECHEMA for a research project focussing on the utilisation of nanoparticles of flexible MOFs as functional additives for lubrication systems.



n2018-03We are part of the EXPLORE Materials Chain (EXMAC) project, which enables us to invite an international postdoc to our lab for two weeks (27 October – 14 November 2018). Within this two-week stay, we will develop a joint research idea and prepare a dedicated proposal for the independent funding of the postdoc. If you are interested to visit our group and work on an exciting project of current materials chemistry please visit our profile on the EXMAC webpage.

Top Download

Our recent paper “Different Breathing Mechanisms in Flexible Pillared-Layered Metal-Organic Frameworks − Impact of the Metal Center”  is among the Top 20 most downloaded articles of Chemistry of Materials in March 2018. 


Paper published in Chemistry of Materials

n2018-2“Different Breathing Mechanisms in Flexible Pillared-Layered Metal-Organic Frameworks − Impact of the Metal Center”

A. Schneemann, P. Vervoorts, I. Hante, M. Tu, S. Wannapaiboon, C. Sternemann, M. Paulus, D. C. F. Wieland, S. Henke*, R. A. Fischer*, Chem. Mater. 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b05052

 Flexible metal-organic frameworks expand their extended network structure upon adsorption of gases. We reveal that the mechanism of structure expansion (the so called breathing) can be very different even in isostructural compounds possessing varying divalent metal ions M2+ (i.e. Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+ or Zn2+). With the help of isothermal gas adsorption measurements and synchrotron X-ray diffraction studies, we revealed that flexible pillared-layered MOFs either switch between discrete phases (M2+ = Cu2+ or Zn2+) or undergo a continuous swelling followed by discontinuous switching (M2+ = Co2+ or Ni2+) upon adsorption of CO2 from the gas phase.


Paper published in Chemical Science

n2018-01“Pore closure in zeolitic imidazolate frameworks under mechanical pressure”

S. Henke*, M. T. Wharmby, G. Kieslich, I. Hante, A. Schneemann, Y. Wu, D. Daisenberger, A. K. Cheetham, Chem. Sci. 2018,9, 1654-1660

In collaboration with colleagues from Diamond Light Source, Cambridge, Munich and Bochum we discovered that zeolitic imidazolate frameworks of the cag topology reversibly switch between an open and a closed pore form in response to mechanical pressure.


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