Unlike commonly used molecular recognition techniques, recognition of polymer structures requires an additional aspect of extremely high recognition ability, by which marginal structural differences can be identified in a large polymer chain. Herein we show that metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can recognize polymer terminal structures, thus enabling the first reported chromatographic separation of polymers. End-functionalized polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are selectively inserted into the MOF channel, the insertion kinetics being dependent on the projection size of the PEG terminus. This size-selective insertion mechanism facilitates precise discrimination of end-functionalized PEGs using liquid chromatography (LC). An MOF-packed column thus provides an efficient and easily accessible method for the separation of such end-functionalized polymers using conventional LC systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry