A Simple Method for Teaching Bragg’s Law in an Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory with the use of Metal–Organic Frameworks

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


Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of porous materials that are often crystalline with high surface area and structural tunability. In this laboratory experiment designed for inorganic chemistry students at the undergraduate level, students complete a two-step experiment where they will first (i) synthesize two isostructural zirconium-based MOFs, UiO-66 and UiO-67, and then (ii) isolate and characterize the materials using powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD). A simple solvothermal procedure was developed for the synthesis of UiO-66 and UiO-67 using the air/moisture stable zirconyl chloride octahydrate as a starting reagent. Depending on the equipment available, the MOFs can be further characterized by nitrogen adsorption analysis for surface area determination using Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) theory, diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Upon synthesizing the MOFs and collecting the characterization data, students analyze and describe their results by answering a series of questions included in the laboratory manual. This exercise will allow students to develop practical laboratory skills while expanding their knowledge on some fundamental concepts in inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, MOFs, crystallography, and other characterization techniques as availability allows.


metal-organic frameworks
teaching laboratory
Bragg's law
Zirconium MOFs
powder X-ray diffraction

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Student handout, instructor notes, supporting figures, examples of PXRD data collected in the undergraduate teaching lab at Concordia University


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