Description: The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed self-decontaminating structures based on porphyrin-embedded, target imprinted, porous, organosilicate sorbents. The materials rapidly sequester targets as a result of the affinity of the sorbent structures. Catalysis proceeds upon stimulation of the porphyrin moieties through illumination or by an applied current. This potential for dual stimulation provides the opportunity for utilization of the materials in sunlit or low light environments. Catalysis in aqueous solution and under ambient conditions in the absence of liquid water has been demonstrated. Target selectivity can be controlled through selection of porphyrin and sorbent characteristics. The spectrophotometric characteristics of the porphyrin catalytic component also offer the potential for self-reporting materials. Attachment of the materials to fabrics and surfaces has been demonstrated using standard techniques. Materials with activity against organophosphate pesticides, aromatic solvents, and nitroenergetics have been described.

Advantages/Features Include:

  • Rapid target sequestration
  • Stimulation of catalysis by electric current or illumination
  • Tunable selectivity
  • Multiple possible material formats
  • Resistance to temperatures of up to 150°C
  • Excellent chemical stability
  • Reusable / regenerable

Applications Include:

  • Catalytic surface coatings and fabrics
  • Chemical protective clothing
  • Self-decontaminating hardware
  • Catalytic membranes

Licensing Status: Licensing and collaborative research and development is available to companies with commercial interest.

Lead Inventor: Brandy White



  • "Sunlight Catalyzed Conversion of Cyclic Organics with Novel Mesoporous Organosilicas" Catalysis Communications, 8, 1052-6 (2007).
  • "Porphyrin-Embedded Organosilicas for Detection and Decontamination," Proceedings SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing: Optics and Photonics in Global Homeland Security V (April 2009) v.7306, 73060E-1 to -11.

To learn more, see our press release.

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