News and Updates

Research in the Group

We are a Materials Chemistry group in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, at the University of Cambridge. Our research interests span across the physical sciences, and include amorphous hybrid materials, melt-quenched glasses, shaping and processing techniques, and porous liquids.

We are always happy to hear from potential collaborators or colleagues, via email (, or twitter (@thomasdbennett).

Latest News


Wednesday 28th June: An excellent day for Tom at the Isis Neutron and Muon User Meeting in Warwick!

Monday 12th June: We are delighted to welcome Dr. Ravichandar Babarao from RMIT University, Melbourne, to the group for a period of 2 weeks.

Sunday 11th June: We are delighted to welcome Chao Zhou from the University of Aalborg, to the group for 6 months!

Saturday 10th June: An extremely productive week: Attending the Faraday Discussions meeting on Porous Materials at Edinburghand three new collaborative papers accepted:

Detecting Molecular Rotational Dynamics Complementing the Low-Frequency Terahertz Vibrations in a Zirconium-Based Metal-Organic Framework

M. R. Ryder, B. Van de Voorde, B. Civalleri, T. D. Bennett, S. Mukhopadhyay, G. Cinque, F. Fernandez-Alonso, D. De Vos, S. Rudić and J. C. Tan, Phys. Rev. Lett., just-accepted.

Tracking Thermal-Induced Amorphization of a Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework via Synchrotron In Situ Far-Infrared Spectroscopy

M. R. Ryder, T. D. Bennett, C. Kelley, M. D. Frogley, G. Cinque and J. C. Tan, Chem. Commun., 2017, just-accepted.

Amorphous-amorphous transition in a porous coordination polymer

H. Ohtsu, T. D. Bennett, T. Kojima, D. A. Keen, Y. Niwa, and M. Kawano, Chem. Commun., 2017, just-accepted.

Monday 24rd April 2017: Ever wondered what a liquid MOF looks like? Our latest work, with excellent international colleagues, delves into the processes by which MOFs melt and the structure and properties of the liquids formed. It is available on the arxiv pre-print server: Liquid Metal-organic Frameworks: Formation Mechanism, Structure and Properties


Thursday 23rd March 2017: Delighted that our new paper, Gel-Based Morphological Design of Zirconium Metal-organic Frameworks, is out in Chemical Science. It deals with the shaping of MOFs via a generalizable gel route. Many thanks to the excellent Dirk De Vos (KU Leuven) and team for making this happen!

Tuesday 28th February 2017: I have two additional fully funded PhD Studentships available in the exciting new field of metal-organic framework glasses and liquids. Positions will start in October 2017 and are available to those students qualifying for ‘home-fees’ only. Potential applicants are asked to make an informal enquiry via tom ( first, including a CV. Deadline mid-end March 2017.


Tuesday 24th January 2017:

Interplay between flexibility, defects and disorder in metal-organic frameworks

Our perspective on these three key areas of MOF research, and their entanglement with one another, is now online!


Monday 5th November 2016:

Gel-based Morphological Design of Zirconium Metal-Organic Frameworks

Our latest work on making and characterizing gels of a variety of UiO type frameworks, and subsequently shaping them into beads is now on the pre-print server. Many thanks to the group of Dirk De Vos at KU Leuven! The paper can be accessed here.


Wednesday 9th November 2016:

PhD Studentship Available

I have a fully funded PhD Studentship available in the exciting new field of metal-organic framework glasses. Please visit the advertisement online for more information. Deadline Wednesday 4th January 2017.


Sunday 31st July 2016:

Hong Kong Summer School


It’s been an absolute pleasure, once again, to attend the Canadian International School in Hong Kong, to take part in a summer school.

Sunday 24th July 2016:

Flying Visit to Wuhan


Great visit to the Silicate Lab in Wuhan to catch up with the team!

Royal Society University Research Fellowship

Im delighted to announce a Royal Society URF, which will start in October 2016. I count myself extremely fortunate to have worked with, and learnt from, such excellent colleagues over the years.

Staff Fellowship at Trinity Hall

I’m delighted to continue my association with Trinity Hall, in a Staff Fellowship capacity from October 2016.

Tuesday 17th May 2016:

Visiting Adjunct-Professorship at the Wuhan University of Technology (WHUT)


I am delighted to accept a visiting research position at WHUT, and work with the group at the State Key Laboratory for Silicate Architectures.

Tuesday 1st March 2016:

Special Issue in Dalton Transactions: Flexibility, Defects and Disorder in MOFs


Following the success of the June 2015 Paris workshop of the same title, organised by myself, François-Xavier Coudert, Tony Cheetham and Alain Fuchs, the associated special issue is now published. We very much hope that this marks yet another stage in the development of MOF-Science!

Monday 26th February 2016:

Melt-Quenched Glasses of Metal-Organic Frameworks


In this work, we give due consideration to framework chemistry and topology to expand the phenomenon of the melting of three-dimensional MOFs, linking crystal chemistry to framework melting temperature and kinetic fragility of the glass-forming liquids. We show that melting temperatures can be lowered by altering the chemistry of the crystalline MOF state, which provides a route to facilitate the melting of other MOFs.

Monday 15th February 2016:

Porosity in metal-organic framework glasses

IMG_1397 (1)

Do MOFs have to be crystalline to be useful? This paper explores the hidden porosity in hybrid glasses, and particularly the consequences for their use as ion conduction or gas sorption devices.

Monday 8th February 2016:

A Computational and Experimental Approach Linking Disorder, HighPressure Behavior, and Mechanical Properties in UiO Frameworks

UiO frameworks are amongst the most rigorously studied materials in the MOF world. However, this work shows that our crystallographic understanding of these quite flexible materials is perhaps not as good as we might think!

Saturday 26th December 2015:
dlatondefectsDefects and Disorder in Metal-Organic Frameworks – published in Dalton Transactions

Defects and Disorder in MOFs

Friday 27th November 2015:

tocOur latest work on connecting defects and amorphization in MOFs has been published as an accepted manuscript in PCCP

Connecting Defects and Amorphization in UiO-66 and MIL-140 Metal-organic Frameworks: A Combiend Computational and Experimental Study

forgantocFriday 13th November 2015:

Published in Dalton Transactions: work with Ross Forgan on organic post-synthetic modification of alkene and alkyne – containing MOFs, and links to their mechanical properties.

Postsynthetic Bromination of UiO-66 Analogues: Altering Linker Flexibility and Mechanical Compliance

Friday 6th November 2015:

CoverIssuedlatonInvestigating the kinetics of amorphization between inorganic zeolites, and their inorganic-organic equivalents, the Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks

A Comparison of the Amorphization of Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks (ZIFs) and Aluminosilicate Zeolites by Ball-milling

Thursday 29th October 2015:

tocPublished on the pre-print server: Our latest work connecting defects and amorphization in UiO-66 and MIL-type MOFs.

Connecting Defects and Amorphization in UiO-66 and MIL-140 Metal-organic Frameworks: A Combined Computational and Experimental Study

Thursday 22nd October 2015:

Check out our latest work, out in Nature Communications, covered by Chemistry World and highlighted in Nature Materials, on MOF Liquids and Glasses.

Hybrid glasses from strong and fragile metal-organic framework liquidsnatcommlogo

Bennett, T. D,* Tan, J. C., Yue, Y. Z., Baxter, E., Ducati, C.,
Terril, N., Yeung, H. H. M, Zhou, Z., Chen, W., Henke, S., Cheetham, A. K, Greaves, G. N.*, Nat Commun, DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS9079

Chemistry World Article:

Metal-Organic Frameworks with a Heart of Glass 

Nature Materials Highlight:

Melting Frameworks