Role of a Modulator in the Synthesis of Phase-Pure NU-1000

Thomas E. Webber, Wei-Guang Liu, Sai Puneet Desai, Connie C Lu, Donald G Truhlar, Lee Penn

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39 Scopus citations


NU-1000 is a robust, mesoporous metal-organic framework (MOF) with hexazirconium nodes ([Zr6O16H16]8+, referred to as oxo-Zr6 nodes) that can be synthesized by combining a solution of ZrOCl2·8H2O and a benzoic acid modulator in N,N-dimethylformamide with a solution of linker (1,3,6,8-tetrakis(p-benzoic acid)pyrene, referred to as H4TBAPy) and by aging at an elevated temperature. Typically, the resulting crystals are primarily composed of NU-1000 domains that crystallize with a more dense phase that shares structural similarity with NU-901, which is an MOF composed of the same linker molecules and nodes. Density differences between the two polymorphs arise from the differences in the node orientation: in NU-1000, the oxo-Zr6 nodes rotate 120° from node to node, whereas in NU-901, all nodes are aligned in parallel. Considering this structural difference leads to the hypothesis that changing the modulator from benzoic acid to a larger and more rigid biphenyl-4-carboxylic acid might lead to a stronger steric interaction between the modulator coordinating on the oxo-Zr6 node and misaligned nodes or linkers in the large pore and inhibit the growth of the more dense NU-901-like material, resulting in phase-pure NU-1000. Side-by-side reactions comparing the products of synthesis using benzoic acid or biphenyl-4-carboxylic acid as a modulator produce structurally heterogeneous crystals and phase-pure NU-1000 crystals. It can be concluded that the larger and more rigid biphenyl-4-carboxylate inhibits the incorporation of nodes with an alignment parallel to the neighboring nodes already residing in the crystal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39342-39346
Number of pages5
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Peter Dunn (University of Minnesota) for his assistance with 1H NMR and Dr. Jason Myers (University of Minnesota) for his help and expertise with transmission electron microscopy. This work is supported as part of the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under Award DESC0012702. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • NU-1000
  • metal infiltration
  • metal-organic frameworks
  • modulator
  • phase-pure synthesis


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