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Newly published research focuses on the oxidation of ethane to ethanol in a metal-organic framework—a step toward greater energy efficiency.

A collaborative effort between the experimental research group of Jeff Long at the University of California Berkeley and the computational groups of Laura Gagliardi and Don Truhlar at the University of Minnesota has shown significant progress in this direction. Also participating in the study were post-doctoral associate Nora Planas and graduate students Joshua Borycz, Allison L. Dzubak, and Pragya Verma from the University of Minnesota and several students and postdoctoral associates from Berkeley. A paper by these groups that appeared, Sunday May 18, 2014, in Nature Chemistry shows that isolated terminal iron–oxo moieties, supported on a metal–organic framework (MOF), selectively oxidizes ethane into ethanol in the presence of N2O under mild conditions.