Miguel Rivera Torrente

PhD Candidate
Employed since:
Email: M.RiveraTorrente@uu.nl
Room: 4th floor open area



Defect-Engineered Metal-Organic Framework Catalysts

Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline porous materials consisting of metal clusters coordinated to organic molecules to form 3D structures that exhibit microporosity, in a similar fashion to that of zeolites. The most typical organic linkers are dicarboxylates and imidazole ligands, along with a number of different transition and alkaline metals such as Al, Co, Fe, Zn or Ni. Their catalytic activity is accepted to result from the coordinatively unsaturated sites (CUS) of the metals within the network, but it is not yet fully understood.

The project consists in proving the existence of defects in these materials by using IR, Raman and UV-microspectroscopies in combination with soft and hard X-Ray techniques to identify vacant sites, dangling bonds and structural defects present in the coordination network. Controlled introduction of those defects enhances the activity of Lewis acid-base and redox catalytic properties of the non-functionalized parent materials. By careful design and optimization, these materials will be used in the conversion of biomass derivatives such as C5 and C6 sugars to methyl lactate or levulinic acid. Finally, a comparison between defect-engineered network (DEFNET) materials and benchmark zeolites will be done, in order to prove their real potential as industrial, scalable, heterogeneous catalysts. As an example, Fischer et al [1] synthesized a Ru-based material, with improved activity in olefin hydrogenation.

[1] – Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 7058
[2] – Adv. Funct. Mater. 2009, 19, 1537–1552
[3] – Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 7234-7254

DEFNET MarieCurie ITN Program



May 2015 – present
PhD Chemistry – Utrecht Universiteit – Netherlands
Defect-engineered Metal-Organic Framework Catalysts
Weckhuysen group (European network DEFNET)

Oct 2014 – Apr 2015
Research Fellow – RWTH Aachen – Germany
Homogeneous catalysts for polymer synthesis
Leitner group (collaboration with Bayer MaterialScience AG)

Sep 2012 – Sep 2014
MSc Polymer Engineering – University of Strasbourg – France
MSc Thesis at BASF SE – Ludwigshafen, Germany
New downstream melamine chemistry

Sep 2009 – Sep 2013
BSc Chemistry – University of Madrid (UAM) – Spain
BSc Thesis at AGC Europe SA – Charleroi, Belgium
Sol-gel method development for layer deposition in OLED devices


Mandemaker, L D B; Rivera-Torrente, M; Delen, G; Hofmann, J P; Lorenz, M; Belianinov, A; Weckhuysen, B M

Nanoweb Surface-Mounted Metal–Organic Framework Films with Tunable Amounts of Acid Sites as Tailored Catalysts Journal Article

Chemistry - A European Journal, 26 (3), pp. 691-698, 2020, (cited By 0).

Links | BibTeX

Rivera-Torrente, M; Mejía, Hernández C; Hartman, T; de Jong, K P; Weckhuysen, B M

Impact of Niobium in the Metal–Organic Framework-Mediated Synthesis of Co-Based Catalysts for Synthesis Gas Conversion Journal Article

Catalysis Letters, 149 (12), pp. 3279-3286, 2019, (cited By 0).

Links | BibTeX

Rivera-Torrente, M; Pletcher, P D; Jongkind, M K; Nikolopoulos, N; Weckhuysen, B M

Ethylene Polymerization over Metal-Organic Framework Crystallites and the Influence of Linkers on Their Fracturing Process Journal Article

ACS Catalysis, 9 (4), pp. 3059-3069, 2019, (cited By 2).

Links | BibTeX

Rivera-Torrente, M; Filez, M; Schneider, C; Feltz, Van Der E C; Wolkersdörfer, K; Taffa, D H; Wark, M; Fischer, R A; Weckhuysen, B M

Micro-spectroscopy of HKUST-1 metal-organic framework crystals loaded with tetracyanoquinodimethane: Effects of water on host-guest chemistry and electrical conductivity Journal Article

Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 21 (46), pp. 25678-25689, 2019, (cited By 0).

Links | BibTeX

Rivera-Torrente, M; Filez, M; Hardian, R; Reynolds, E; Seoane, B; Coulet, M -V; Palacio, Oropeza F E; Hofmann, J P; Fischer, R A; Goodwin, A L; Llewellyn, P L; Weckhuysen, B M

Metal-Organic Frameworks as Catalyst Supports: Influence of Lattice Disorder on Metal Nanoparticle Formation Journal Article

Chemistry - A European Journal, 24 (29), pp. 7498-7506, 2018, (cited By 1).

Links | BibTeX

Marquez, C; Rivera-Torrente, M; Paalanen, P P; Weckhuysen, B M; Cirujano, F G; Vos, De D; Baerdemaeker, De T

Increasing the availability of active sites in Zn-Co double metal cyanides by dispersion onto a SiO2 support Journal Article

Journal of Catalysis, 354 , pp. 92-99, 2017, (cited By 2).

Links | BibTeX