Nature Materials, Vol.8, No.6, 481-484, 2009
Controlling interpenetration in metal-organic frameworks by liquid-phase epitaxy
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are highly porous materials generally consisting of two building elements: inorganic coupling units and organic linkers(1-4). These frameworks offer an enormous porosity, which can be used to store large amounts of gases and, as demonstrated in more recent applications(5,6), makes these compounds suitable for drug release. The huge sizes of the pores inside MOFs, however, also give rise to a fundamental complication, namely the formation of sublattices occupying the same space. This interpenetration greatly reduces the pore size and thus the available space within the MOF structure(7). We demonstrate here that the formation of the second, interpenetrated framework can be suppressed by using liquid-phase epitaxy on an organic template. This success demonstrates the potential of the step-by-step method to synthesize new classes of MOFs not accessible by conventional solvothermal methods.