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Zeolites are porous silicate materials that are used in gas separation, catalysis, and other applications. Several MSI Principal Investigators are involved in a project to develop zeolite nanosheets—plate-like crystals—that are very desirable because of their packing and processing advantages. In 2011, Professor Matteo Cococcioni (MSI Associate Fellow), Professor Alon McCormick (MSI Fellow), Professor K. Andre Mkhoyan, and Professor Michael Tsapatsis, all of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and members of their research groups published a paper in Science (334:6052, 72-75, DOI: 10.1126/science.1208891) discussing the structures of these nanosheets, which constitute a new class of zeolite nanoparticle. The researchers use MSI for computational studies of the structures of the nanosheets, and are continuing their research with simulations that complement and explain experimental results. These methods may also be extended to other structures.
An additional paper about zeolite nanosheets by some of these researchers appeared in the journal Science in June 2012: "Synthesis of Self-Pillared Zeolite Nanosheets by Repetitive Branching," XY Zhang, DX Liu, DD Xu, S Asahina, KA Cychosz, KV Agrawal, Y Al Wahedi, A Bhan, S Al Hashimi, O Terasaki, M Thommes, and M Tsapatsis, 336:6089, 1684-1687, DOI: 10.1126/science.1221111 (2012).