To content
Professorship for Inorganic Chem­is­try

Prof. Dr. Se­bas­ti­an Henke

Technische Uni­ver­si­tät Dort­mund
Fa­kul­tät für Chemie und Che­mi­sche Bio­lo­gie
Anorganische Chemie
Otto-Hahn-Str. 6
44227 Dort­mund

Room: C2-07-176

Phone: +49 231 755 3976
Fax: +49 231 755 5048

Portrait Sebastian Henke © CCB​/​TU Dort­mund

Welcome to our webpage. We are materials chemists working at the interface of solid-state and molecular chem­is­try. Our goal is to construct functional materials via a modular approach utilising Werner-type coordination chem­is­try. By self-assembly of inorganic and organic building units we synthesize extended (2D or 3D) coordination networks (or metal-organic frameworks, MOFs) with interesting chemical and physical properties (porosity, flexibility, disorder, etc.). Ultimately, we want to modulate the functional properties of our materials systematically by chemical principles.

Open Positions

Several exciting re­search topics are available for Bachelor and Master theses:

– Stimuli-responsive MOFs for gas separations and energy storage applications
– MOF glasses for applications as membranes and solid electrolytes

Please contact Se­bas­ti­an Henke by email if interested.



Squeezing responsive MOFs under high pressure

In collaboration with the group of Prof. Stephen Moggach from the Uni­ver­sity of Western Australia (Perth) and an in­ter­na­tio­nal team we studied how guest-responsive MOFs behave when exposed to mechanical pressures up to 2.1 GPa (that is approx. 21,000 times the atmospheric pressure). The study has been published in the journal Chemical Science.

Guest-Mediated Phase Transitions in a Flexible Pillared-Layered Metal-Organic Framework under High-Pressure
G. Turner, S. C. McKellar, D. R. Allan, A. K. Cheetham, S. Henke*, S. A. Moggach*
Chem. Sci. 2021, 12, 13793-13801

We performed single crystal X-ray diffraction experiments on a responsive MOF using a diamond anvil cell for the high pressure environment. The MOF shows a drastically different mechanical phase behaviour and distinct network distortions depending on the type of guest molecule in its pores. Our results demonstrate the large influence of guest mol­ecules on the high-pressure phase behavior of responsive MOFs. Guest-mediated frame­work flexibility is useful to engineering MOFs with bespoke pore shapes and compressibility.

New paper published in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions: Frustrated flexibility in metal-organic frameworks

Grafic Illustration © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Roman's paper on the unusual structural responsiveness of alkoxy-functionalized MOF-5 derivatives is now published in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Frustrated flexibility in metal-organic frameworks
R. Pallach, J. Keupp, K. Terlinden, L. Frentzel-Beyme, M. Kloß, A. Machalica, J. Kotschy, S. K. Vasa, P. A. Chater, C. Sternemann, M. T. Wharmby, R. Linser, R. Schmid, S. Henke
Nat. Commun. 2021, 12, 4097

We report a strategy to create MOFs with a ‘frustrated’ structure arising from an incompatibility of intra-frame­work dispersion forces with the geometrical constraints of the frame­work’s inorganic building units. Mediated by guest exchange or temperature changes, the frustrated MOFs undergo reversible loss and recovery of crystalline order while preserving frame­work connectivity and topology. Some of these frustrated MOFs own unprecedented physical properties, such as continuous non-crystalline-to-crystalline transitions driven by entropy rather than enthalpy. The novel phenomenon of frustrated flexibility has con­se­quences for the application of MOFs in gas storage, se­pa­ra­tion, and catalysis, and further suggests great potential for the dis­cov­ery of new responsive materials exhibiting unconventional and exotic properties.

Awards for Kai Terlinden and Pascal Kolodzeiski

Kai Terlinden and Pascal Kolodzeiski

At the (virtual) 14th Day of Chem­is­try the best graduates of the Department CCB of the past year were honoured. Congratulations to our students Kai Terlinden and Pascal Kolodzeiski for receiving the award for their outstanding master's degrees. In his Master's thesis, Kai developed an isoreticular series of novel alkali ion based porous frame­work compounds, which can be processed from ethanolic solution. Pascal used sophisticated in situ X-ray diffraction and scattering techniques to look into the mechanical and thermal behaviour of various prototypical MOFs. We are very pleased that Kai and Pascal stay in the group for their doctorate.

Se­bas­ti­an Henke appointed to the rank of Pro­fes­sor

From left to right: Prof. Stefan Kast (Dean of the Department CCB), Prof. Se­bas­ti­an Henke, Prof. Manfred Bayer (Rector of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity).

Se­bas­ti­an has been appointed to a new professorship in the field of Inorganic Chem­is­try. With this new role the Henke Group will continue to grow and to tackle eminent questions in the materials chem­is­try of coordination networks and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). This success would not have been possible without the hard and dedicated work of our excellent PhD, Master and Bachelor students, as well as the outstanding postdocs, who have been working in our group over the past four years. A big “Thank You!” goes to all current and former group mem­bers and all colleagues in the Department CCB!

Kekulé Fellowship for Pascal Kolodzeiski

Logo Fond der Chemischen Industrie © FCI

Pascal Kolodzeiski receives a prestigious Kekulé fellowship of the "Fonds der Chemischen In­dus­trie" (FCI) to support his doctoral re­search proj­ect on MOF glasses in our group. We are very proud that Pascal passed the rigorous selection process and thank the FCI for its generous funding. Building on his outstanding Master's thesis in 2020 (see below), Pascal is now looking into designing new functional MOF glasses for applications as solid electrolytes and membrane materials.

Pascal Kolodzeiski receives the "best of the year award" of the Department CCB

Portrait Pascal Kolodzeiski © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Big congratulations to Pascal, who received the best of year award of the Department CCB for his excellent master’s degree in 2020. In his master’s thesis, entitled "Investigations on the structural behaviour of carboxylate- and imidazolate-based metal-organic frameworks under mechanical pressure and high temperature", Pascal studied the mechanical and thermal response of a number of prototypical MOFs with in situ X-ray diffraction and scattering techniques. Parts of this work were performed at DELTA, the synchrotron radiation facility of TU Dort­mund. We are very happy that Pascal decided to stay with us and study towards a PhD in our lab.

Exploration Grant of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foun­da­tion to investigate the ionic conductivity of MOF glasses

Logo Boehringer-Ingelheim-Stiftung

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foun­da­tion funds our proj­ect to study the ionic conductivity of MOF glasses. MOF glasses are a new class of nanoporous solids that can be processed in their liquid state, which is a conceptual advantage over the classical crystalline solid electrolytes. For this proj­ect we are looking for a talented electrochemist with profound experience in electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (postdoc level) to join our group. Please see the job ad. Applications of interested candidates can be send by email to Se­bas­ti­an Henke.

Ex­peri­ment! – New grant from the Volkswagen Foun­da­tion to explore porous liquids

Logo Volkswagen-Stiftung

The Volkswagen Foun­da­tion approved our grant in the frame of the funding program "Ex­peri­ment!”  In this explorative proj­ect, we will investigate the gas sorption behaviour of porous liquids based on colloidal metal-organic frame­work (MOF) suspensions. For this purpose, we are seeking a highly motivated and talented postdoc to join our group. If you are interested, please see the job ad


Chiral Glow - DFG funds our joint re­search proj­ect with the Steffen Group

Grafikiillustration © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Within the frame of the DFG priority programme 1928 COORNETs (Coordination Networks: Building Blocks for Functional Sys­tems) we received funding for an exciting collaborative proj­ect with the group of Prof. An­dre­as Steffen. The Steffen and Henke Groups will join forces to utilize specifically designed MOFs as host matrices for chiral organometallic Cu(I) complexes. These chiral compounds can exhibit circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) with a yet to fully explore potential in enantioselective sensors, data storage, (3D-)OLEDs, or ultrafast switching in quantum cryptographical applications. We will follow a specific de­sign strategy to obtain beneficial CPL properties in single crystals, powders and films, and finally employ these new materials in CP-PhOLEDs (circularly polarized phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes).

EuroMOF 2019 in Paris

Louis Frenzel-Beyme, Pascak Kolodzeiski, Roman Pallach © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Louis, Pascal and Roman presented their work on porous sodium organic salts, flexible frameworks and MOF glasses at "EuroMOF 2019 - The 3rd International Conference on Metal Organic Frameworks and Porous Polymers" in Paris. We thank the DFG priority programme 1928 "COORNETs" and the Gesell­schaft Deutscher Chemiker e.V. for their generous support.

Paper Published in JACS: Porous Metal Imidazolate Glasses Can Separate Hydrocarbons

Grafikillustration © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Louis’ paper on zeolitic imidazolate frame­work (ZIF) glasses has just been accepted for publication by JACS. 

Meltable Mixed-Linker Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks and Their Microporous Glasses - From Melting Point Engineering to Selective Hydrocarbon Sorption
L. Frentzel-Beyme, M. Kloss, P. Kolodzeiski, R. Pallach, S. Henke*
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b05558.

We report a synthetic strategy for melting point engineering of crystalline ZIFs. Via a linker mixing approach the melting point of a prototypical ZIF material is decreased to only about 370 °C – a record low for these kind of materials. This sets the stage for the development of lower temperature processing techniques for porous ZIF liquids and glasses. Melting the ZIF crystals followed by cooling the liquid to room temperature yields porous ZIF glasses, which feature pores large enough to adsorb various hydrocarbon gases. Importantly, kinetic sorption profiles indicate that the glasses are able to separate propylene from propane; one of the most im­por­tant se­pa­ra­tion problems of the chemical industry.

Spotlight on Elastic Porous Crystals

Logo Diamond Light Source

We are very happy that our Chemical Science Paper on the mechanical-pressure-driven open pore to closed pore phase transitions of a family of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) has been highlighted in the Annual Review of Diamond Light Source. This work benefited a lot from the world class X-ray diffraction equipment available at beamline I15 of Diamond Light Source.

Annual Report

(see page 60 for our work)

Three Great Theses in 2018

Marvin Kloß, Sebastian Henke, Julia Kuhnt, Stefan Koop © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Julia Kuhnt, Marvin Kloß and Stefan Koop performed their Master‘s re­search projects in our group and successfully defended their theses in 2018. Topics covered range from metal-organic frame­work glasses and photo-switchable MOFs to hybrid inorganic-organic perovskites. Congratulations and all the best for your fu­ture re­search projects.

Purple, Paramagnetic, Porous - The First Cobalt Imidazolate Glass

Grafikillustration © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Louis' and Marvin's paper on a permanently porous cobalt-based zeolitic imidazolate frame­work glass has just been accepted for publication in the Journal of Materials Chem­is­try A.

"Porous purple glass - A cobalt imidazolate glass with accessible porosity from a meltable cobalt imidazolate frame­work"
L. Frentzel-Beyme, M. Kloß, R. Pallach, S. Salamon, H. Moldenhauer, J. Landers, H. Wende, J. Debus, S. Henke*, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, DOI: 10.1039/C8TA08016J.

MOF glasses represent a new class of functional materials which might have a number of advantages against their crystalline counterparts. We have developed the very first cobalt-based zeolitic imidazolate frame­work (ZIF) that can be melted and transformed into a glass. In collaboration with colleagues from the Physics Departments of TU Dort­mund and the Uni­ver­sity of Duis­burg-Essen, we investigated the structural, thermodynamic and magnetic properties of this new material. Importantly, the liquid and glass phases of the ZIF preserve almost 50% of the porosity of the crystalline parent material. This finding might pave the way for the application of liquid and glassy MOFs in gas se­pa­ra­tion processes and catalysis.

MOF 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand

Roman Pallach, Sebastian Henke, Louis Frentzel-Beyme © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Louis, Roman und Se­bas­ti­an presented the freshest results from the group's re­search at the 6th International  Conference on Metal-Organic Frameworks & Open Framework Compounds ‘MOF 2018’ in Auckland, New Zealand. It has been a fantastic con­fe­rence with lots of fascinating science, excellent talks and great people. We are looking forward to “EuroMOF 2019" in Paris next year and  ‘MOF 2020’ in Dresden in two years.

DAAD-Travel Grant for Louis Frentzel-Beyme

We are delighted that Louis received a travel grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to present his work on porous sodium-organic frameworks at the 6th International Conference on Metal-Organic Frameworks & Open Framework Compounds ‘MOF2018’ in Auckland, New Zealand, this year. Great job!.

Funding for Porous Salts

Greafikillustration © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

Most MOFs are based on di-, tri- or tetravalent metal ions (e.g. Zn2+, Cu2+, Al3+, Zr4+ etc.). Porous frameworks composed of monovalent alkali ions (Li+, Na+, K+) linked by organic anions are rare, however. We are very happy that the DFG decided to fund our proj­ect on “Porous Alkali-Organic Frameworks - From Design towards Application”. First examples of these new materials, which can be regarded as porous alkali-organic salts (see Figure), will be reported soon.


Se­bas­ti­an received a Max-Buchner-Scholarship from DECHEMA for a re­search proj­ect focussing on the utilisation of nanoparticles of flexible MOFs as functional additives for lubrication systems.


Logo Explore Materials Chain

We are part of the EXPLORE Materials Chain (EXMAC) proj­ect, which enables us to invite an in­ter­na­tio­nal postdoc to our lab for two weeks (27 October – 14 No­vem­ber 2018).

Within this two-week stay, we will develop a joint re­search idea and prepare a dedicated proposal for the independent funding of the postdoc. If you are interested to visit our group and work on an exciting proj­ect of current materials chem­is­try please visit our profile on the EXMAC webpage.

Top Download

Paper published in Chem­is­try of Materials

Grafikillustration © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

“Different Breathing Mechanisms in Flexible Pillared-Layered Metal-Organic Frameworks − Impact of the Metal Center”

A. Schneemann, P. Vervoorts, I. Hante, M. Tu, S. Wannapaiboon, C. Sternemann, M. Paulus, D. C. F. Wieland, S. Henke*, R. A. Fischer*, Chem. Mater. 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b05052

Flexible metal-organic frameworks expand their extended network structure upon adsorption of gases. We reveal that the mechanism of structure expansion (the so called breathing) can be very different even in isostructural compounds possessing varying divalent metal ions M2+ (i.e. Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+ or Zn2+). With the help of isothermal gas adsorption measurements and synchrotron X-ray diffraction studies, we revealed that flexible pillared-layered MOFs either switch between discrete phases (M2+ = Cu2+ or Zn2+) or undergo a continuous swelling followed by discontinuous switching (M2+ = Co2+ or Ni2+) upon adsorption of CO2 from the gas phase.

Paper published in Chemical Science

Grafikillustration © AK-Henke​/​TU Dort­mund

“Pore closure in zeolitic imidazolate frameworks under mechanical pressure”

S. Henke*, M. T. Wharmby, G. Kieslich, I. Hante, A. Schneemann, Y. Wu, D. Daisenberger, A. K. Cheetham, Chem. Sci. 2018,9, 1654-1660

In collaboration with colleagues from Diamond Light Source, Cambridge, Munich and Bo­chum we discovered that zeolitic imidazolate frameworks of the cag topology reversibly switch between an open and a closed pore form in response to mechanical pressure.

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Cam­pus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Cam­pus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Cam­pus Nord to Cam­pus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vo­gel­pothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Cam­pus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bo­chum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duis­burg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. There are two stations on Cam­pus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Cam­pus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Cam­pus Nord and offers a direct connection to Cam­pus Süd every five minutes.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity are spread over two campuses, the larger Cam­pus North and the smaller Cam­pus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Site Map of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity (Second Page in English).