Welcome to the Snurr Research Site!

We are researching how nanoporous materials can (help to) save the world.
We are interested in novel materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), as well as traditional materials like zeolites that are already widely used in industry. Porous materials with well-controlled structures at the nanoscale can be extremely useful because of their ability to recognize and discriminate between adsorbed molecules. This leads to applications of nanoporous materials in adsorption separations, catalysis, membrane processes, sensing, and energy storage.


Archived News

(click for current news)
  • November 2015: Randy Snurr received the 2015 Ernest W. Thiele award from the Chicago Local Section of AIChE.

  • September 2015: Congratulations to Melissa Barona for receiving a HENAAC Scholarship -- one of only 8 awarded nationally!

  • September 2015: Our paper "Water-Stable Zirconium-Based Metal-Organic Framework Material with High-Surface Area and Gas-Storage Capacities" was among the most accessed papers in Chemistry, a European Journal for the past year.

  • April 2015: Peyman Moghadam's paper "Carbohydrate-Mediated Purification of Petrochemicals" is published in JACS and highlighted in Chemical & Engineering News.

  • April 2015: Melissa Barona has received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Congratulations!

  • March 2015: The paper "Decomposing chemical warfare agents utilizing metal-organic frameworks" was published in Nature Materials and highlighted in Science, Materials Today, C&E News, and other news outlets.

  • March 2015: Our paper "Screening of bio-compatible metal-organic frameworks as potential drug carriers using Monte Carlo simulations" was one of the Most Accessed Articles for 2014 in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B.

  • February 2015: The group's work on screening of nanoporous materials for natural gas storage, as part of the Materials Genome Initiative, is highlighted in Chemistry World.

  • November 2014: Yamil Colon received one of this year's Graduate Student Awards from the AIChE Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum (CoMSEF). The other winner was Heather Mayes from Linda Broadbelt's group, also at Northwestern. Congratulations to Yamil and Heather!

  • September 2014: Diego Gomez-Gualdron has received the 2014 International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) Outstanding Research Award. Congratulations!

  • August 2014: Yamil Colon has been awarded the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department's Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award for 2014. Congratulations! We look forward to your seminar in a few weeks at the Department Retreat.

  • June 2014: Randy Snurr is named one of Thomson Reuters' Highly Cited Researchers.

  • April 2014: Congratulations to Diego Gomez-Gualdron on the first prize at the CIERA poster competition at the 2014 Northwestern Computational Research Day!

  • March 2013: The group's work on natural gas storage in the MOF NU-125 is highlighted in this month's issue of Chemistry Views!

  • December 2012: Chris Wilmer was named to the Forbes 30-under-30 in energy list!

  • November 2012: Randy Snurr is quoted in RSC Chemistry World discussing new research on selective materials for CO2 separations.

  • November 2012: Our paper "Structure-property relationships of porous materials for carbon dioxide separation and capture" is featured on the front cover of the Energy & Environmental Science journal! (link to article)

  • October 2012: Pritha Ghosh and Randy Snurr, in collaboration with Professor Siepmann's group and Professor Kohen's group have won the 7th Industrial Fluid Properties Simulation Challenge at AIChE 2012. Congratulations!

  • October 2012: Chris Wilmer has won a Graduate Student Award from the Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum (CoMSEF) at AIChE 2012. Congratulations!

  • October 2012: Dr. David Fairen-Jimenez has won a prestigious University Research Fellowship from The Royal Society. Congratulations!

  • August 2012: Chris Wilmer has been awarded the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department's Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award for 2012. Congratulations and we look forward to your seminar in a few weeks!

  • August 2012: Chris Wilmer and our collaborator, Omar Farha, are profiled in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News for their entrepreneurial success.

  • July 2012: Our paper "High Propene/Propane Selectivity in Isostructural Metal–Organic Frameworks with High Densities of Open Metal Sites" is highlighted in Chemistry Views. (link to article)

  • June 2012: Our paper "Thermodynamic analysis of Xe/Kr selectivity in over 137 000 hypothetical metal–organic frameworks" is featured on the cover of Chemical Science. Authors are Ben Sikora, Chris Wilmer, Michael Greenfield and Randy Snurr. (link to article)

  • May 2012: NuMat Technologies, a university spin-out company based on research from the Snurr & Hupp group, wins the Rice Business Plan Competition and the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition, collectively receiving over $1 million in prizes! NuMat's successes are featured in Northwestern News: "Business Pitches Win Big" and in FORTUNE Magazine:"Hail to the Champions".

  • March 2012: Our research is featured on the cover of ACS Catalysis in their March 2012 issue (pictured on right)! (link to article)

  • March 2012: Northwestern's NuMat Technologies, a university spin-out company based on research from the Snurr & Hupp group, has won the $100,000 student company grand prize in the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge. In June, NuMat Technologies will represent the midwestern United States in a National Clean Energy student business competition. See also coverage by McCormick News. Congratulations!

  • February 2012: The movie about our research wins an award in the 2011 NSF International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge and is featured in the February 2012 issue of Science as well as being covered in Wired magazine and MSNBC.

  • January 2012: Randy Snurr has joined the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Chemistry of Materials.

  • January 2012: Our research is featured on the cover of Nature Chemistry in their February 2012 issue (pictured on right)! (link to article)

  • January 2012: Our research collaboration with Prof. Fraser Stoddart's group on "sugar MOFs" is highlighted in Science!

  • December 2011: Chris Wilmer is profiled in the latest issue of McCormick magazine.

  • November 2011: Prof. Randall Snurr has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Congratulations! Randy was elected for advancing the application of nanoporous metal-organic frameworks in energy storage and separations and showing the power of molecular simulation to design new materials.

  • November 2011: "Large-scale screening of hypothetical metal-organic frameworks" published in Nature Chemistry. Read about it in Chemistry World in their article "Predicting the perfect MOF" or in Chemical & Engineering News in their article "Dial-A-MOF".

  • September 2011: Ben Sikora received the George Thodos Teaching Assistant Award. Congratulations!

  • August 2011: Chris Wilmer has been awarded a terminal-year fellowship. Congratulations!

  • July 2011: Congratulations to Prof. Snurr for winning the Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology for 2011 from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Presentation of Randy's award will take place at the Institute's Honors Ceremony, held during AIChE's 2011 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The ceremony is scheduled for the evening of Sunday, October 16.

  • June 2011: Patrick Ryan defended his PhD thesis and will soon join Baxter. Congratulations!

  • April 2011: Yamil Colon has been awarded an NSF Graduate Reserach Fellowship. Congratulations!

  • February 2011: We have updated our website! Please forgive us as we continue to update links.

  • October 2010: "De novo synthesis of a metal-organic framework material featuring ultrahigh surface area and gas storage capacities" published in Nature Chemistry. Read about it in a News and Views piece in Nature Chemistry and in Chemistry Views magazine. Full text here.

  • September 2010: Congratulations to Chris Wilmer for winning a $31,500 prize from InnoCentive for creating a synthetic-DNA management system. Read more about the challenge here. He is also featured in Inside Innovation's "I'm a Solver" blog.

  • July 2010: "Ultra-High Porosity in Metal-Organic Frameworks" published in Science. Read about it on the Northwestern web site, in Chemical & Engineering News, and on NanoWiki.

  • June 2010: Patent #7,744,842 issued on June 29 for "Gas adsorption and gas mixture separation using carborane-based MOF material."

  • June 2010: Congratulations to Gloria Oxford on defending her PhD!

  • June 2010: Congratulations to Youn-Sang Bae who has been promoted to Research Assistant Professor!

  • May 2010: Randy Snurr was voted to the Faculty Honor Roll of the Associated Student Government.

  • May 2010: The current issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette, the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, includes a profile of Randy Snurr and the group's work on hydrogen storage.

  • April 2010: Randy Snurr has been appointed to the Editorial Board of Current Nanoscience

  • March 2010: Gloria Oxford has received a NAS/National Research Council Research Associateship Program Fellowship for postdoctoral research.

  • March 2010: Patrick Ryan has been selected to attend the 2010 Conference of the Council for Chemical Research.

  • January 2010: Patrick Ryan has been selected to attend the 2010 Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Physics. Read more here

  • December 2009: Chris Wilmer received a $4000 prize from InnoCentive for his proposal to solve water problems in developing countries. Read more here

  • November 2009: Gloria Oxford received the CoMSEF Graduate Student Award from the AIChE Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum. Congratulations!

  • September 2009: Congratulations to Gloria Oxford on receiving an AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division travel award!

  • September 2009: Xiaoying Bao received the Department Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award and will present his work at the Department Retreat. Gloria Oxford was selected as one of two runners-up and will also give a talk at the Retreat. Congratulations!

  • September 2009: Randy Snurr has published a "News & Views" piece on hydrogen storage in Nature Chemistry.

  • August 2009: Randy Snurr has been appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical.

  • June 2009: Randy Snurr was named the Leibniz Professor at the University of Leipzig for the Summer semester 2009.

  • April 2009: Group's work on MOFs highlighed in TeraGrid news release.

  • December 2008: Our paper "Separation and molecular-level segregation of complex alkane mixtures in metal-organic frameworks" (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130, 10884 (2008)) is highlighted in JACS Select.

  • July 2008: Our paper "Carborane-based metal-organic frameworks as highly selective sorbents for CO2 over methane" (Chem. Commun. 2008) is featured on the Nature Chemistry website.

  • April 2008: Our paper "Applicability of the BET method for determining surface areas of microporous metal-organic frameworks" (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129, 8552-8556 (2007)) is featured as a "Hot Paper" on the American Chemical Society website.

  • February 2008: Randy Snurr is quoted in Chemical Science article Catalytic Cavities.

  • January 2008: Randy Snurr is quoted in ScienceNOW article Porous Storage Gives Methane a Leg Up.

  • Our paper "Liquid slip as a rate process," Phys. Rev. Lett. 2007 by Lichter et al. was chosen for inclusion in the 11 June, 2007 issue of the Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science and Technology.

  • Our paper "Simulated adsorption properties and synthesis prospects of homochiral porous solids based on their heterochiral analogs" featured on the cover of Langmuir (vol. 21 issue 6, March 15, 2005).

  • Our paper "Structural analysis of porphyrin molecular squares using molecular mechanics and density functional methods," J. Chem. Phys. 2004 by Miljacic et al. was chosen for inclusion in the 18 October, 2004 issue of the Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science and Technology.

  • Invited, cover article in the June 2004 issue of the AIChE Journal: "Prospects for nanoporous metal-organic materials in advanced separation processes."

  • "Metal-organic frameworks for methane storage," Heart Cut, April 26, 2004
    • Design of new materials for methane storage using molecular modeling
  • "1-D zeolites trap hydrocarbons," C&E News, October 28, 2002, p. 33
    • Hydrocarbon traps for treating "cold start" automotive emissions
  • "Molecular squares have tailored pores," Membrane & Separation Technology News, October 2002, p. 3
    • Joint work with Profs. Hupp and Nguyen on membranes made from molecular squares
  • "A model student-athlete," The Den (Official Magazine of Northwestern Wildcat Football) September 7, 2002, pp. 4-5
    • Molecular modeling work of summer intern DeMaris Wilson
  • "Building enzymes, filters," News Brief in "The Industrial Physicist" February/March 2002 (see p. 2)
    • Joint work with Profs. Hupp and Nguyen on using molecular squares as membranes and as artifical mimics of enzymes
  • "Tiny films have promising future as nanoscale filters," NSF News Tip October 2001
    • Joint work with Profs. Joe Hupp and SonBinh Nguyen on membranes made from novel "molecular squares" materials