Reversible Discrete-to-Extended Metal–Organic Polyhedra Trans-formation by Sulfonic Acid Surface Functionalization

25 July 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs) are molecular porous units in which desired functionalities can be installed with precise geometrical and compositional control. By combing two complementary chemical moieties, such as sulfonic acid group and Rh(II)-carboxylate paddlewheel, we synthesized a robust water-soluble cuboctahedral MOP with excellent features in both solution and solid state. Herein, we demonstrate that the superior chemical stability of the Rh2 unit and the elevated number of functional groups on the surface (24 per cage) result in a porous cage with high solubility and stability in water, including acidic, neutral and basic pH conditions. We also prove that the sulfonic acid-rich form of the cage can be isolated through post-synthetic acid treatment. This transformation involves an improved gas uptake capacity, and the capability to reversibly assemble the cages into a 3D metal-organic framework (MOF) structure. Likewise, this sulfonic acid functionalization provides both MOP and MOF solids with high proton conductivities (> 10-3 S cm-1), comparable to previously reported high conducting metal-organic materials. The influence of the MOP-to-MOF processing in the gas adsorption capacity indicates this structural transformation can provide materials with higher and more controllable porous properties. These results illustrate the high potential of acidic MOPs as more flexible porous building units in terms of processability, structural complexity and tunability of the properties.


Metal-organic cages
Metal-organic frameworks
Organic acids

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information


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