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Welcome to the www site of USF-SMMARTT!

USF-SMMARTT (Smart Metal-organic Materials Advanced Research and Technology Transfer) is an interdisciplinary research center that was initiated at USF in 2008 with the following mission:

"To discover and develop new 'smart' metal-organic material (MOM) platforms for energy sustainability and enhancement of human health"

Figure 1

Figure 1.  The structural diversity exhibited by MOMs.

Metal-Organic Materials, MOMs, are an emerging class of materials comprised of combinations of molecular building blocks (typically metal clusters and organic spacer ligands) and they are exemplified by a diverse range of discrete (e.g. metal-organic polyhedra, spheres or nanoballs, metal-organic polygons) or polymeric structures (e.g. porous coordination polymers, PCPs, metal-organic frameworks, MOFs) (Figure 1).

MOMs are attracting attention from solid-state and materials scientists for multiple reasons:

  • MOMs are inherently diverse in terms of chemical composition because molecular building blocks can be modified while retaining overall structure;
  • MOMs are facile to prepare because they are built using self-assembly of the molecular building blocks;
  • MOMs are fine tunable in terms of scale;
  • MOMs can exhibit multi-functional properties as a result of their inherent ability to combine unprecedented levels of porosity with additional functional features that are imparted by the building blocks and/or the guests (or counterions for an ionic MOM).  These properties include catalytic activity, magnetism, chirality, molecular recognition and luminescence.

Figure 2

Figure 2.  A WebofScience© analysis of publications and citations related to MOMs (January 2009).

Consequently, MOMs have captured the imagination of researchers around the world, because they are uniquely suited to provide solutions to problems that impact the sustainability of our society in areas ranging from energy (hydrogen storage materials, solar energy platforms, thermoelectric platforms) to human health (diagnostics and treatment) to the environment (chemical and biological threat detection and remediation).  It should therefore be unsurprising that there has been explosive growth in scientific literature and impact devoted to MOMs and related materials (Figure 2).

USF-SMMARTT engages research groups that have expertise in optical spectroscopy, advanced computational methods, biochemistry/biophysics, surface science and synthetic chemistry.  This interdisciplinary group of faculty members is already active in terms of collaboration that includes two currently funded team projects that address different applications of MOMs:  hydrogen storage (funded by US Dept. of Energy) and toxic threat remediation (funded by US Dept. of Defense).  Multiple other projects are under development.

In short, MOMs represent an area of materials research that is topical, cutting edge and naturally lends itself to high risk interdisciplinary research.

Mike Zaworotko, Director                                         Randy Larsen, Associate Director

For more information about USF-SMMARTT please explore this www site, or contact us by e-mail:

In addition, copies of the USF-SMMARTT brochure and flier are available for download below.