Liquid metal–organic frameworks

01 Nov 2017

Metal–organic frameworks are a family of chemically diverse materials, with applications in a wide range of fields covering engineering, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. Until recently research has focused almost entirely on crystalline structures, yet now a clear trend is emerging shifting the emphasis onto disordered states including “defective by design” crystals, as well as amorphous phases such as glasses and gels. Here we introduce a strongly associated MOF liquid, obtained by melting a zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF). We combine in-situ variable temperature X-ray, ex-situ neutron pair distribution function experiments, and first principles molecular dynamics simulations to study the melting phenomenon and the nature of the liquid obtained. We demonstrate from structural, dynamical, and thermodynamical information that the chemical configuration, coordinative bonding, and porosity of the parent crystalline framework survive upon formation of the MOF liquid.