CO2-Capturing Crystals That Mimic DNA Developed by UCLA Scientists
UCLA scientists have created DNA-like crystals that capture carbon dioxide
UCLA graduate student Hexian Deng and biochemistry professor Omar M. Yaghi have developed synthetic crystals that can be used to trap carbon dioxide.
UCLA’s “designer crystal” approach opens the door for more low cost, scalable applications, such as trapping carbon dioxide from factories or vehicle exhaust pipes.
The new synthetic crystals can code information just as DNA does, in a more simple form based on the sequence of pores in the material. The result is a sponge-like ability to trap gasses, along with a high degree of selectivity that in turn leads to highly efficient carbon capture. According to a UCLA press release, Deng was able to achieve a 400% improvement in carbon dioxide capture by manipulating the sequence.
The UCLA breakthrough is also reminiscent of another innovation related to crystalline structure, a form of glass that can swell in a sponge-like manner and selectively trap volatile organic compounds. Swelling glass, marketed under the trademark Obsorb, was developed by Wooster College professor Paul Edmiston as a relatively quick and low cost way to clean up industrial sites.