MOF – 177 has such an unassuming name. What is it though? A star? They have odd names like this don’t they?

Well no, MOF – 177 is a crystal with a huge (I mean huge) surface area – 4500 m2 per gram. To put this into context ….

…. it is the equivalent of 17 tennis courts – per gram.

By NielsF (Image:Tennis.png by ed g2s) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The crystal has a metal organic framework made up of zinc oxide cluster and 1,3,5 – benzentribenzoate. It is found as a simple white solid but its real point of interest is that the holes in the crystal  are large enough (approx 1 nanometre) to allow substances such as buckyballs or hydrocarbons through. This means that it could be used to act as molecular sieve.

It is also speculated that it could be used as a hydrogen store for fuel cell hydorgen vehicles.