By XiaoZhi Lim

Cristina Mottillo is in no rush. She pours finely ground white powder into a Petri dish, carefully rolls it flat with the side of a small glass vial, then seals it into a chamber where the heat and humidity are like those on a sweltering summer day in the tropics.

“Now,” she says, “we wait.“

Over the next four days, with no further effort from Mottillo, the three chemicals in that powder will gradually turn into ZIF-8: a stable, porous compound called a metal–organic framework that could find widespread use in carbon capture and storage, and that is worth more than 100 times the raw materials’ original value. “The reactants do all the work,” says Mottillo, a chemistry PhD student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.


Continue reading at Nature. Originally published on Aug 4, 2015.

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