Bottom-up construction of a superstructure in a porous uranium-organic crystal

Peng Li, Nicolaas A. Vermeulen, Christos D. Malliakas, Diego A. Gómez-Gualdrón, Ashlee J. Howarth, B. Layla Mehdi, Alice Dohnalkova, Nigel D. Browning, Michael O'Keeffe, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

136 Scopus citations


Bottom-up construction of highly intricate structures from simple building blocks remains one of the most difficult challenges in chemistry. We report a structurally complex, mesoporous uranium-based metal-organic framework (MOF) made from simple starting components. The structure comprises 10 uranium nodes and seven tricarboxylate ligands (both crystallographically nonequivalent), resulting in a 173.3-angstrom cubic unit cell enclosing 816 uranium nodes and 816 organic linkers - the largest unit cell found to date for any nonbiological material. The cuboctahedra organize into pentagonal and hexagonal prismatic secondary structures, which then form tetrahedral and diamond quaternary topologies with unprecedented complexity. This packing results in the formation of colossal icosidodecahedral and rectified hexakaidecahedral cavities with internal diameters of 5.0 nanometers and 6.2 nanometers, respectively - ultimately giving rise to the lowest-density MOF reported to date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-627
Number of pages4
Issue number6338
StatePublished - May 12 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Li, P., Vermeulen, N. A., Malliakas, C. D., Gómez-Gualdrón, D. A., Howarth, A. J., Mehdi, B. L., Dohnalkova, A., Browning, N. D., O'Keeffe, M., & Farha, O. K. (2017). Bottom-up construction of a superstructure in a porous uranium-organic crystal. Science, 356(6338), 624-627.