Discovery of new kind of aperiodic order published in Science

Discovery of new kind of aperiodic order published in Science

goodwin image science

An Oxford-led collaboration with researchers from Sydney, Bremen, Florence, and UCL has discovered an unusual kind of aperiodic order in a metal–organic framework (MOF). MOFs are crystalline nanoporous materials that contain an ordered array of metal-containing clusters connected to one another by molecular organic linkers. In the newly-discovered material — known as TRUMOF-1 — clusters are uniformly coordinated by six linkers, but linkers connect clusters in a disordered fashion to generate a labyrinthine network with an aperiodic topology.

This unusual arrangement is related to a set of tilings discovered in 1704 by the French monk Sébastien Truchet. Truchet tilings are exploited in visual information storage, where they function as a complex kind of barcode or QR code. The discovery of an atomic-scale Truchet material opens up the possibility of new kinds of dense information storage in systems such as TRUMOF-1.

At Oxford, the research was carried out by DPhil student Emily Meekel, together with postdocs Ella Schmidt and Arianna Minelli. The discovery was made possible by the measurement of high-quality X-ray single-crystal diffuse scattering patterns using the custom-built diffractometer purchased as part of Andrew Goodwin’s “COMPLEXORDER” ERC Advanced Grant.