Defect Engineering Of Porous Aromatic Frameworks Via End Capping Improves Dioxane Removal From Water

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Amorphous porous organic polymers show promise for energy-efficient adsorptive separations, but it is difficult to understand or improve their performance through intentional structural modification. Herein, we report the synthesis of porous aromatic frameworks (PAFs) with pore structures tailored by the incorporation of a monofunctionalized end-capping monomer that disrupts framework topology. Combining experimental characterization with molecular simulations, we show that this defect engineering strategy yields less densely crosslinked networks, which leads to pore collapse and the presence of unique adsorption sites. These defect-engineered PAFs exhibit enhanced removal of 1,4-dioxane, an important environmental pollutant, from water. Increasing the concentration of end-capping monomers produces PAFs with narrower pore size distributions and improved 1,4-dioxane uptake. These results illustrate that defect engineering can effectively modulate polymer connectivity and porosity for applications in selective adsorptive separations. This technique avoids post-synthetic treatments and presents another approach to tailor amorphous polymeric adsorbents.

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