Selective, High-Temperature O2 Adsorption in Chemically Reduced, Redox-Active Iron-Pyrazolate Metal–Organic Frameworks

Developing O2-selective adsorbents that can produce high-purity oxygen from air remains a significant challenge. Here, we show that chemically reduced metal–organic framework materials of the type AxFe2(bdp)3 (A = Na+, K+; bdp2 = 1,4-benzenedipyrazolate; 0 < x ≤ 2), which feature coordinatively saturated iron centers, are capable of strong and selective adsorption of O2 over N2 at ambient (25 °C) or even elevated (200 °C) temperature. A combination of gas adsorption analysis, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, magnetic susceptibility measurements, and a range of spectroscopic methods, including 23Na solid-state NMR, Mössbauer, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies, are employed as probes of O2 uptake. Significantly, the results support a selective adsorption mechanism involving outer-sphere electron transfer from the framework to form superoxide species, which are subsequently stabilized by intercalated alkali metal cations that reside in the one-dimensional triangular pores of the structure. We further demonstrate similar O2 uptake behavior to that of AxFe2(bdp)3 in an expanded-pore framework analogue and thereby gain additional insight into the O2 adsorption mechanism. The chemical reduction of a robust metal–organic framework to render it capable of binding O2 through such an outer-sphere electron transfer mechanism represents a promising and underexplored strategy for the design of next-generation O2 adsorbents.