Faculty Directory
Randall Q. Snurr

Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering

John G. Searle Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road
CAT 121
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-467-2977Email Randall Snurr


Snurr Research Group


Chemical and Biological Engineering


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA

B.S.E. Chemical Engineering (magma cum laude), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Research Interests

Molecular modeling, absorption, separations, catalysis, energy and sustainability

Our research focuses on adsorption, diffusion, and catalysis in nanoporous materials. We are interested in novel materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), as well as traditional materials such as zeolites that are already widely used in industry. Porous materials with well-controlled structures at the nanoscale can be extremely useful because of their ability to recognize and discriminate between adsorbed molecules. This leads to applications of nanoporous materials in adsorption separations, catalysis, membrane processes, sensing, and energy storage. 

Most of the projects in our group are aimed at solving problems related to energy or the environment.  Examples include development of materials to store hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles, development of materials for capturing carbon dioxide from power plant flue gas (carbon capture and sequestration), development of energy-efficient separations, and development of highly selective catalysts for green chemistry processes.

To address these problems, we use powerful molecular modeling techniques. Our goal is to develop a better understanding of surface interactions and dynamics in nanoporous materials and to exploit this molecular-level information to develop new, highly-selective processes in adsorption separations, catalysis, and energy storage. Another goal of our research is to develop new simulation methods that can handle an ever-broader range of time and length scales to address important problems that cannot be simulated with current techniques. Several experimental techniques, especially adsorption measurements, play an important role in our work, either within our group or through collaborations.

Selected Publications

    P. Deria, D.A. Gómez-Gualdrón, I. Hod, R.Q. Snurr, J.T. Hupp, O.K. Farha, “Framework-topology-dependent catalytic activity of zirconium-based (porphinato)zinc(II) MOFs,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 14449-14457 (2016).

    Q. Chen, J. Sun, P. Li, I. Hod, P.Z. Moghadam, Z.S. Kean, R.Q. Snurr, J.T. Hupp, O.K. Farha, J.F. Stoddart, “A redox-active bistable molecular switch mounted inside a metal-organic framework,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 14242-14245 (2016). 

    D. Nazarian, J.S. Camp, Y.G. Chung, R.Q. Snurr, D.S. Sholl, “Large-scale refinement of metal- organic framework structures using density functional theory,” Chem. Mater. 29, 2521−2528 (2017).

    P.Z. Moghadam, J.F. Ivy, R.K. Arvapally, A.M. dos Santos, J.C. Pearson, L. Zhang, E. Tyllianakis, P. Ghosh, I.W.H. Oswald, U. Kaipa, X. Wang, A.K. Wilson, R.Q. Snurr, M.A. Omary, “Adsorption and molecular siting of CO2, water, and other gases in the superhydrophobic, flexible pores of FMOF-1 from experiment and simulation,” Chem. Sci. 8, 3989–4000 (2017).

    D.A. Gómez-Gualdrón, T.C. Wang, P. Garcia-Holley, R.M. Sawelewa, E. Argueta, R.Q. Snurr, J.T. Hupp, T. Yildirim, O.K. Farha, “Understanding volumetric and gravimetric hydrogen adsorption trade-off in metal-organic frameworks,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9, 33419-33428 (2017).

    N.S. Bobbitt, M.L. Mendonca, A.J. Howarth, T. Islamoglu, J.T. Hupp, O.K. Farha, R.Q. Snurr, “Metal-organic frameworks for the removal of toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents,” Chem. Soc. Rev. 46, 3357–3385 (2017). 

    P. Liao, R.B. Getman, R.Q. Snurr, “Optimizing open iron sites in metal-organic frameworks for ethane oxidation:  A first-principles study,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9, 33484-33492 (2017). 

    Y.G. Chung, P. Bai, M. Haranczyk, K.T. Leperi, P. Li, H. Zhang, T. Wang, T. Duerinck, F. You, J.T. Hupp, O.K. Farha, J.I. Siepmann, R.Q. Snurr, “Computational screening of nanoporous materials for hexane and heptane isomer separation,” Chem. Mater. 29, 6315-6328 (2017).

    Y.J. Colón, D. Gómez-Gualdrón, R.Q. Snurr, “Topologically-guided, automated construction of MOFs and their evaluation for energy-related applications,” Cryst. Growth Design 17, 5801-5810 (2017).

    H. Zhang, R.Q. Snurr, “Computational study of water adsorption in the hydrophobic metal-organic framework ZIF-8:  Adsorption mechanism and acceleration of the simulations,” J. Phys. Chem. C, in press.

    C.L. Whitford, C.J. Stephenson, D.A. Gomez-Gualdron, J.T. Hupp, O.K. Farha, R.Q. Snurr, P.C. Stair, “Elucidating the nanoparticle-MOF interface of Pt@ZIF-8 catalysts,” J. Phys. Chem. C, in press.