Novel Metal-Organic Framework for Temperature-Programmable Molecular Sieving of Linear, Mono and Dibranched Alkane Isomers

Schematic representation of the proposed separation of C6 alkane isomers.

Invention Summary:

Separating mixtures of hydrocarbons with comparable boiling points is often challenging and energy intensive. Adsorptive separation of hydrocarbons is commonly used as a low-energy alternative to industrial distillations. Recently, however, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are emerging as promising alternatives to traditional adsorptive solids. Currently, however, there are no adsorptive compounds which permit efficient discrimination between alkane isomers exhibiting different degrees of branching.

Researchers at Rutgers University have characterized a MOF capable of separating mono and dibranched alkane isomers. Further, the same adsorbent exhibits temperature-dependent alkane isomer selectivity, allowing for robust and efficient separation of a mixture of linear mono and dibranched alkanes into pure components.  The MOF is highly stable with hydrophobic character which further enhances its performance.

Market Applications:

  • Petroleum refining for production of high-RON gasoline
  • Facilitating industrial reactions by thermal-programmable separation of alkane isomers
  • Separation of linear, mono and dibranched hydrocarbon isomers       


  • Separation efficiencies and adsorptive capacities exceeding the industry standard
  • Tunable, temperature-responsive mono and dibranched alkane separation selectivity

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Rutgers ID: 2018-087
Physical Sciences
Zolt Pukanecz
Jing Li
Hao Wang