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Monday, 13 February, 2012

Towards Mesostructured Zinc Imidazolate Frameworks

S. C. Junggeburth, K. Schwinghammer, K. S. Virdi, C. Scheu, and B. V. Lotsch -
Chemistry - A European Journal, Vol. 18 (7), pp. 2143-2152 (2012)

The transfer of supramolecular templating to the realm of metalorganic frameworks opens up new avenues to the design of novel hierarchically structured materials. We demonstrate the first synthesis of mesostructured zinc imidazolates in the presence of the cationic surfactant cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), which acts as a template giving rise to ordered lamellar hybrid materials. A high degree of order spanning the atomic and mesoscale was ascertained by powder X-ray diffraction, electron diffraction, as well as solid-state NMR and IR spectroscopy. The metrics of the unit cells obtained for the zinc methylimidazolate and imidazolate species are a=(11.43±0.45), b=(9.55±0.35), =(27.19±0.34)Å, and a=(10.98±0.90), b=(8.95±0.95), c=(26.33±0.34)Å, respectively, assuming orthorhombic symmetry. The derived structure model is consistent with a mesolamellar structure composed of bromine-terminated zinc (methyl)imidazolate chains interleaved with motionally rigid cationic surfactant molecules in an all-trans conformation. The hybrid materials exhibit unusually high thermal stability up to 300°C, at which point CTAB is lost and evidence for a thermally induced transformation into poorly crystalline mesostructures with larger feature sizes is obtained. Treatment with ethanol effects the extraction of CTAB from the material, followed by facile transformation into pure microporous ZIF-8 nanoparticles within minutes, thus demonstrating a unique transition from a mesostructure into a microporous zinc imidazolate.


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