Shape-memory effect triggered by π-π interactions in a flexible terpyridine metal-organic framework

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


Shape-memory polymers and alloys are adaptable materials capable of reversing from a deformed, metastable phase, to an energetically favoured original phase in response to external stimuli. In the context of metal-organic frameworks, the term shape-memory is defined as the property of a switchable framework to stabilize the reopened pore phase after the first switching transition. Herein we describe a novel flexible terpyridine MOF which, upon desolvation, transforms into a non-porous structure that reopens into a shape-memory phase when exposed to CO2 at 195 K. Based on comprehensive in situ experimental studies (SC-XRD and PXRD) and DFT energetic considerations combined with literature reports, we recommend dividing shape-memory MOFs into two categories, viz responsive and non-responsive, depending on the transformability of the gas-free reopened pore phase into the collapsed phase. Furthermore, considering the methodological gap in discovering and understanding shape-memory porous materials, we emphasize the importance of multicycle physisorption experiments for dynamic open framework materials, including metal-organic and covalent-organic frameworks.


metal-organic frameworks
shape-memory effect
structural flexibility

Supplementary materials

SI File
Additional experiments, IR, PXRD, crystalographic tables


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