Natl Sci Rev. 2022 Mar 25;9(9):nwac056. doi: 10.1093/nsr/nwac056. eCollection 2022 Sep.
In recent decades, the application of zeolite has been extended to many sustainable processes. Professor Ruren Xu () of Jilin University is a leader within Chinese, Asian and worldwide zeolite communities, as well as the founder of the inorganic synthesis discipline in China and the first person in the world to propose the scientific discipline of modern inorganic synthetic chemistry. Professor Xu started his scholarly research on zeolites in the mid-1970s. He focused initially on crystallization and mechanisms of zeolite formation. In the 1980s, he gradually shifted his research to the exploration of microporous materials with novel frameworks and compositions. In 1984, he outlined new directions in the synthesis of zeolites and placed emphasis on the ‘heteroatom concept’, which turned out to be very influential and fruitful for the subsequent development of heteroatom-containing zeolite catalysts. In the following years, he and his group systematically developed new solvothermal routes for zeolite synthesis. In the late 1990s, Xu started to think about the rational synthesis of zeolites, a major challenge for zeolite as well as inorganic synthesis in general. His group developed several effective strategies for the rational design and synthesis of zeolitic materials. He is the chairman of the 15th International Zeolite Conference (15th IZC) held in 2007 for the first time in China. Because of his significant contribution to zeolite science in China, he received the National Zeolite Lifetime Achievement Award of China in 2017. NSR recently interviewed Professor Xu about the current status and future prospects of zeolites and related porous materials. This interview is dedicated to Professor Xu on his 90th birthday, in recognition of his seminal contribution to zeolite science, modern inorganic synthetic chemistry and the new discipline of condensed matter chemistry, which was first suggested by Professor Xu in 2018.