High-Concentration Self-Assembly of Zirconium- and Hafnium-Based Metal-Organic Materials



Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline, porous solids constructed from organic linkers and inorganic nodes that are promising for applications in chemical separations, gas storage, and catalysis, among many others. However, a major roadblock to the widespread implementation of MOFs, including highly tunable and hydrolytically stable Zr- and Hf-based frameworks, is their benchtop-scalable synthesis, as MOFs are typically prepared under highly dilute (≤0.01 M) solvothermal conditions. This necessitates the use of liters of organic solvent to prepare only a few grams of MOF. Here-in, we demonstrate that Zr- and Hf-based frameworks (eight examples) can self-assemble at much higher reaction concen-trations than are typically utilized, up to 1.00 M in many cases. Combining stoichiometric amounts of Zr or Hf precursors with organic linkers at high concentrations yields highly crystalline and porous MOFs, as confirmed by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) and 77 K N2 surface area measurements. Further, the use of well-defined pivalate-capped cluster pre-cursors avoids the formation of ordered defects and impurities that arise from standard metal chloride salts. These clus-ters also introduce pivalate defects that increase the exterior hydrophobicity of several MOFs, as confirmed by water con-tact angle measurements. Overall, our findings challenge the standard assumption that MOFs must be prepared under highly dilute solvothermal conditions for optimal results, paving the way for their scalable and user-friendly synthesis in the laboratory.


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