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Protecting group and switchable pore-discriminating adsorption properties of a hydrophilic-hydrophobic metal-organic framework

Lookup NU author(s): Bo Xiao, Xuebo Zhao, Rachel Gill, Emeritus Professor Mark ThomasORCiD


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Formed by linking metals or metal clusters through organic linkers, metal-organic frameworks are a class of solids with structural and chemical properties that mark them out as candidates for many emerging gas storage, separation, catalysis and biomedical applications. Important features of these materials include their high porosity and their flexibility in response to chemical or physical stimuli. Here, a copper-based metal-organic framework has been prepared in which the starting linker (benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxylic acid) undergoes selective monoesterification during synthesis to produce a solid with two different channel systems, lined by hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces, respectively. The material reacts differently to gases or vapours of dissimilar chemistry, some stimulating subtle framework flexibility or showing kinetic adsorption effects. Adsorption can be switched between the two channels by judicious choice of the conditions. The monoesterified linker is recoverable in quantitative yield, demonstrating possible uses of metal-organic frameworks in molecular synthetic chemistry as 'protecting groups' to accomplish selective transformations that are difficult using standard chemistry techniques.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mohideen MIH, Xiao B, Wheatley PS, McKinlay AC, Li Y, Slawin AMZ, Aldous DW, Cessford NF, Duren T, Zhao XB, Gill R, Thomas KM, Griffin JM, Ashbrook SE, Morris RE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Chemistry

Year: 2011

Volume: 3

Issue: 4

Pages: 304-310

Print publication date: 06/03/2011

ISSN (print): 1755-4330

ISSN (electronic): 1755-4349

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/NCHEM.1003


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