Materials Chemistry

Size-Dependent Properties of Solution-Processable Conductive MOF Nanocrystals



The diverse optical, magnetic, and electronic behaviors of most colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals emerge from materials with limited structural and elemental compositions. Conductive metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) possess rich compositions with complex architectures, but remain unexplored as nanocrystals, hindering their incorporation into scalable devices. Here, we report the controllable synthesis of conductive MOF nanoparticles based on Fe(1,2,3-trizolate)2. Sizes can be tuned as small as 5.5 nm, ensuring indefinite colloidal stability. These solution-processable MOFs can be analyzed by solution-state spectroscopy and electrochemistry and cast into conductive thin films with excellent uniformity. This unprecedented analysis of MOF materials reveals a strong size-dependence in optical and electronic behavior sensitive to the intrinsic porosity and guest-host interactions of MOFs. These results provide a radical departure from typical MOF characterization, enabling insight into physical properties otherwise impossible with bulk analogs, while offering a roadmap for the future of MOF nanoparticle synthesis and device fabrication.


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