Flügel, Erik A.; Aronson, M. T.; Junggeburth, Sebastian C.; Chmelka, B. F.; Lotsch, Bettina V.
Surfactant-directed syntheses of mesostructured zinc imidazolates: formation mechanism and structural insights.
In: CrystEngComm, Vol. 17, Nr. 2: S. 463-470
Supramolecular templating techniques have been widely used to direct the formation of porous materials with the goal of introducing permanent mesoporosity. While surfactant-directed self-assembly has been exploited for inorganic materials such as titania, silica, organosilica, and zeolites, it has rarely been applied to metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and coordination polymers. Here we introduce a new family of gemini surfactant-directed zinc imidazolates, referred to as mesostructured imidazolate frameworks (MIFs), and present a detailed study on the influence of different gemini-type surfactants on the formation mechanism and structures of the resulting zinc imidazolates. The proposed formation mechanism for MIF-type materials involves co-assembly and crystallization processes that yield lamellar mesostructured imidazolate frameworks. Understanding and controlling such processes also has implications for the syntheses of microporous zinc imidazolate framework (ZIF) materials, whose formation can be suppressed in surfactant-rich solutions, whereas formation of MIF materials is favored in the presence of surfactants and triggered by the addition of halogenides. Solid-state 2D 13C1H HETCOR NMR measurements on prototypic CTAB-directed MIF-1 establish that the head group moieties of the surfactant molecules interact strongly with the zinc-imidazolate-bromide sheets. Additionally, the NMR analyses suggest that MIF-1 has a significant fraction of surfactant molecules that are interdigitated between the zinc-imidazolate-bromide sheets with an antiparallel stacking arrangement, consistent with the high thermal and chemical stability of the MIF hybrid materials.