The most common products obtained in the synthesis of zirconium-based metal-organic frameworks (ZrMOFs) are fine powders. The particle size of a typical ZrMOF UiO-66 was first reported to be around 200 nm, so the original crystal structure was only solved by powder XRD coupled with Rietveld refinement due to the incapability of single crystal XRD to solve such small crystals with poor crystallinity. One may ask the reason why the particle size of UiO-66 is so small compared to that of other common MOFs and what the key factor terminating the growth of UiO-66 is. In this work, we try to answer this question by proposing a hypothesis that the partially deprotonated ligand caused by the accumulated protons in the reaction solution is the key factor preventing the continuous growth of the UiO-66 crystal. The hypothesis is verified by growth reactivation with the addition of a deprotonating agent in an in situ biphase solvothermal reaction. As long as the protons were sufficiently coordinated by the deprotonating agent, the continuous growth of UiO-66 is guaranteed. Moreover, the modulation effect can impact the coordination equilibrium and nucleation so that an oriented attachment growth of UiO-66 film was achieved in membrane structures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films