A Pseudo Five-Fold Symmetrical Ligand Drives Geometric Frustration in Porous Metal-Organic and Hydrogen Bonded Frameworks

Reticular framework materials thrive on designability, but unexpected reaction outcomes are crucial in exploring new structures and functionalities. By combining “incompatible” building blocks, we employed geometric frustration in reticular materials leading to emergent structural features. The combination of a pseudo C5 symmetrical organic building unit based on a pyrrole core, with a C4 symmetrical copper paddlewheel synthon led to three distinct frameworks by tuning the synthetic conditions. The frameworks show structural features typical for geometric frustration: self-limiting assembly, internally stressed equilibrium structures and topological defects in the equilibrium structure, which manifested in the formation of a hydrogen bonded framework, distorted and broken secondary building units and dangling functional groups, respectively. The influence of geometric frustration on the CO2 sorption behavior and the discovery of a new secondary building unit shows geometric frustration can serve as a strategy to obtain highly complex porous frameworks.