Home > Research > Dr. Hongcai (Joe) Zhou

Dr. Hongcai (Joe) Zhou
Ph.D., Texas A&M University

Contact Information:
Department of Chemistry
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-3255

Phone: (979) 845-4034
Fax: (979) 845-1595

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Areas of Interest

Current Activities

Research topics: Energy Storage for Transportation, Supramolecular Chemistry, Hydrogen and Methane Storage, Carbon Dioxide Capture, Clean-Energy-Related Separation, Metal-Organic Frameworks, Mesh-Adjustable Molecular Sieves, Mesoporous Materials, Biomimetic Synthesis.

Nature has demonstrated the extraordinary ability in biological systems to form large and intricate supramolecular arrays from small and simple building blocks, giving rise to a wide variety of structures and functions. Coordination-driven self-assembly has received considerable attention and produced numerous examples of chemically interesting and aesthetically appealing self-assembled structures. For example, nanoscopic molecular cages, can act as molecular hosts for a variety of potential applications, namely molecular recognition, drug delivery, and chemical sensing. They can also be applied as molecular reactors for highly selective reactions (Ex. size- or enantio-selective catalysis and bond activation in a confined space), basic building units for the construction of extended porous materials, and artificial enzymes.

Porous solid materials have captured the imagination of materials scientists and offer great promise in gas storage, separations, and drug delivery applications. In the last decade, the study of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) has become one of the most rapidly developing fields of materials chemistry. MOFs are crystalline frameworks consisting of metal ions (or clusters) and organic linkers. In some cases, pores inside an open MOF are stable after the removal of guest molecules (often solvents) and the MOF can be used for the storage of gases such as hydrogen (for hydrogen fuel-cell applications), methane (for application in transportation), and carbon dioxide (for carbon capture and sequestration). Other potential applications of MOFs include gas purification and separation for clean-energy related applications, catalysis, drug-delivery, and gas-sensing. Recently, Porous Polymer Networks (PPNs) have also become a research topic in our lab.

Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks with Ultrahigh Stability as a Biomimetic Catalyst

Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks with Ultrahigh Stability as a Biomimetic Catalyst


Hendecahedral molecular cage

Hendecahedral molecular cage

PPN with High Surface Area

PPN with High Surface Area

Interconversion between Discrete and a Chain of Nanocages
Interconversion between Discrete and a Chain of Nanocages


Selected Publications

Jiang, H.-L.; Feng, D.; Wang, K.; Gu, Z.-Y.; Wei, Z.; Chen, Y.-P.; Zhou, H.-C., An Exceptionally Stable, Porphyrinic Zr Metal–Organic Framework Exhibiting pH-Dependent Fluorescence. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 13934-13938.

Sculley, P. J.; Verdegaal, W. M.; Lu, W.; Wright, M.; Zhou, H.-C., High-Throughput Analytical Model to Evaluate Materials for Temperature Swing Adsorption Processes. Adv. Mater., 2013, 25, 3925-4057. (Cover)

Wriedt, M.; Yakovenko, A.; Halder, G.; Prosvirin, A.; Dunbar, K.R.; Zhou, H.C., Reversible Switching from Antiferro- to Ferromagnetic Behavior by Solvent-Mediated, Thermally-Induced Phase Transitions in a Trimorphic MOF-based Magnetic Sponge System. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 4040-4050.

Li, J.-R.; Yu, J.; Lu, W.; Sculley, J.; Balbuena, P. B.; Zhou, H.-C., Porous Materials with Pre-Designed Single-Molecule Traps for CO2 Selective Adsorption. Nature Commun., 2013, 4:1538 doi: 10.1038/ncomms2552

Park, J.; Wang, Z.U.; Sun, L.-B.; Chen, Y.-P.; Zhou, H.-C., Introduction of Functionalized Mesopores to Metal-Organic Frameworks via Metal-Ligand-Fragment Coassembly. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134 (49), 20110-20116.

Cui, P.; Ma, Y.-G.; Li,H.-H.; Zhao, B.; Li, J.-R.; Cheng, P.; Balbuena, P.; Zhou, H.-C., Multipoint Interactions Enhanced CO2 Uptake: A Zeolite-like Zinc-Tetrazole Framework with 24-Nuclear Zinc Cages, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134 (46), 18892-18895.

Liu, T.-F.; Chen, Y.-P.; Yakovenko, A. A.; Zhou, H.-C., Interconversion between Discrete and a Chain of Nanocages: Self-Assembly via a Solvent-Driven, Dimension-Augmentation Strategy. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134 (42), 17358-17361.

Jiang, H.-L.; Feng, D.; Liu, T.-F.; Li, J.-R.; Zhou, H.-C., Pore Surface Engineering with Controlled Loadings of Functional Groups via Click Chemistry in Highly Stable Metal-Organic Frameworks. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134(36), 14690-14693.

Sun, L.-B.; Li, J.-R.; Lu, W.; Gu, Z.-Y.; Luo, Z.; Zhou, H.-C., Confinement of Metal-Organic Polyhedra in Silica Nanopores. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 15923-15928.

Zhou, H.-C., Long, J.; Yaghi, O., Introduction to Metal-Organic Frameworks. Chem. Rev., 2012, 112, 673-674. (Guest Editor)

Makal, T. A.; Li, J.-R.; Lu, W.; Zhou, H.-C., Methane Storage in Advanced Porous Materials. Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012, 41(23), 7761-7779. (Back Cover)

Feng, D.; Gu, Z.-Y.; Li, J.-R.; Jiang, H.-L.; Wei, Z.; Zhou, H.-C., Zirconium-Metalloporphyrin PCN-222: Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks with Ultrahigh Stability as A Biomimetic Catalyst. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 10307-10310. (Cover)

Wriedt, M.; Sculley, J.; Yakovenko, A.; Ma, Y.; Halder, G.; Balbuena, P.; Zhou, H.-C., Low-Energy Selective Capture of CO2 by a Predesigned Elastic Single-Molecule Trap. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 9804-9808.

Lu, W.; Sculley, J.; Yuan, D.; Krishna, R.; Wei, Z.; Zhou, H.-C. Polyamine-Tethered Porous Polymer Networks for Carbon Dioxide Capture from Flue Gas. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51,7480-7484.

Lu, W.; Yuan, D.; Makal, T. A.; Li, J.-R.; Zhou, H.-C. A Highly Porous and Robust (3,3,4)-Connected Metal-Organic Framework Assembled with a 90-Bridging-Angle-Embedded Octa-carboxylate Ligand. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 1580-1584.

Li, J.-R.; Sculley, J.; Zhou, H.-C. Metal-Organic Frameworks for Separations. Chem. Rev. 2012, 112, 869-932.

Park, J.; Yuan, D.; Pham, K. T.*; Li , J.-R.; Yakovenko, A.; Zhou, H. -C. Reversible Alteration of CO2 Adsorption upon Photochemical or Thermal Treatment in a Metal-Organic Framework. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 99-102.

Sun, L.-B.; Li, J.-R.; Park, J.; Zhou, H.-C. Cooperative Template-Directed Assembly of Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 126-129.

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