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Modena, Mario M.; Hirschle, Patrick; Wuttke, Stefan; Burg, Thomas P. (2018): Mass Measurements Reveal Preferential Sorption of Mixed Solvent Components in Porous Nanoparticles. In: Small, Vol. 14, No. 27, 1800826
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The interplay of physical and chemical properties at the nanometer scale provides porous nanoparticles with unique sorption and interaction capabilities. These properties have aroused great interest toward this class of materials for application ranging from chemical and biological sensing to separation and drug delivery. However, so far the preferential uptake of different components of mixed solvents by porous nanoparticles is not measured due to a lack of methods capable of detecting the resulting change in physical properties. Here, a new method, nanomechanical mass correlation spectroscopy, is used to reveal an unexpected dependence of the effective mass density of porous metal-organic framework (MOF) nanoparticles on the chemistry of the solvent system and on the chemical functionalization of the MOF's internal surface. Interestingly, the pore size of the nanoparticles is much too large for the exclusion of small solvent molecules by steric hindrance. The variation of effective density of the nanoparticles with the solvent composition indicates that a complex solvent environment can form within or around the nanoparticles, which may substantially differ from the solvent composition.