There are many different ways to make nanomaterials, but weaving, the oldest and most enduring method of making fabrics, has not been one of them - until now. An international collaboration led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, has woven the first three-dimensional covalent organic frameworks (COFs) from helical organic threads. The woven COFs display significant advantages in structural flexibility, resiliency, and reversibility over previous COFs - materials that are highly prized for their potential to capture and store carbon dioxide then convert it into valuable chemical products. "We have taken the art of weaving into the atomic and molecular level, giving us a powerful new way of manipulating matter with incredible precision in order to achieve unique and valuable mechanical properties," says Dr. Omar Yaghi, a chemist who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and UC-Berkeley's Chemistry Department, and is the co-director of the Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute (Kavli-ENSI). "Weaving in chemistry has been long sought after and is unknown in biology," Dr. Yaghi says. "However, we have found a way of weaving organic threads that enables us to design and make complex two- and three-dimensional organic extended structures." Dr. Yaghi is the senior and corresponding author of a paper in Science reporting this new technique. The paper, which serves as the cover article of the January 22, 2016 issue of Science is titled "Weaving of Organic Threads into a Crystalline Covalent Organic Framework." The lead authors are Yuzhong Liu, Yanhang Ma, and Yingbo Zhao.
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