Effect of pressure on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)
Graham, Alexander John
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A growing field of research has evolved around the design and synthesis of a variety of porous metal-organic framework (MOF) materials. Some of the most promising areas for which these materials are potentially useful candidates include gas-separation, heterogeneous catalysis, and gas-storage, and all of these applications involve placing the MOF under pressure. There is clearly a need to understand the structural response of MOFs to applied pressure. Nevertheless, hitherto there are very few published investigations dedicated to determining the behaviour of porous hybrid materials under pressure. Through the use of high-pressure single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies, a series of MOF materials have been studied. Here we present the effect of pressure on a series of MOFs. In chapter 2, the effect of pressure on the prototypical MOF called MOF-5 was studied experimentally from ambient pressure to 3.2 GPa. Here, application of pressure was driven by the hydrostatic medium being forced into the pores of the MOF, which altered the mechanical properties of MOF-5, in particular, medium inclusion delayed the onset of amorphization. Complementary computational analysis was also performed to elucidate further the effect of medium inclusion on compressive behaviour. Detailed structural data was also collected as a function of pressure on the MOF Cu-btc. Application of pressure caused solvent to be squeezed into the pores (like MOF-5) until a phase transition occurred, driven by the sudden compression and expansion of equatorial and axial Cu–O bonds. High-pressure post-synthetic modification of a MOF is reported for the first time. On application of pressure of 0.2 GPa to the Cu-based MOF called STAM-1, a ligand exchange reaction takes place resulting in a change in pore size, shape, and hydrophilicity of the resulting pores. Here, we also demonstrate the ability to force hydrophilic molecules into hydrophobic pores using pressure, counteracting the hydrophobic effect. A high-pressure combined experimental and computational study has been carried to probe the effect of pressure on ‘breathing’ mechanisms in a zeolitic imidazolate framework (or ZIF) called ZIF-8. The penetration of guest molecules and the accommodation of pressure are shown to be inextricably linked to the rotation of methylimidazolate groups in the structure. Finally, the application of pressure to the MOF Sc₂BDC₃ and the nitro functionalized derivative Sc₂(NO₂-BDC)₃ was also studied. Here, the effect of chemical modification of the organic ligand, whilst maintaining framework topology, has been investigated as it pertains to compressibility. Directionality of compression is observed and this is rationalized with respect to the framework topology and medium inclusion/exclusion.