Inorganic "conductive Glass" Approach to Rendering Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks Electronically Conductive and Chemically Responsive

Chung Wei Kung, Ana E. Platero-Prats, Riki J. Drout, Junmo Kang, Timothy C. Wang, Cornelius O. Audu, Mark C. Hersam, Karena W. Chapman, Omar K. Farha, Joseph T. Hupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


A representative mesoporous metal-organic-framework (MOF) material, NU-1000, has been rendered electronically conductive via a robust inorganic approach that permits retention of MOF crystallinity and porosity. The approach is based on condensed-phase grafting of molecular tin species onto the MOF nodes via irreversible reaction with hydroxyl and aqua ligands presented at the node surface, a self-limiting process termed solvothermal installation (of metal ions) in MOFs (SIM, a solution-phase analog of atomic layer deposition in MOFs). Treatment of the modified MOF with aerated steam at 120 °C converts the grafted tin molecules to tetratin(IV)oxy clusters, with the clusters being sited between insulating pairs of zirconia-like nodes (the zirconium component being key to endowing the parent material with requisite chemical and thermal stability). By introducing new O-H presenting ligands on the modified-MOF node, the high-temperature steam step additionally serves to reset the material to reactive form, thus enabling a second self-limiting tin-grafting step to be run (and after further steam treatment, enabling a third). Difference-envelop-density (DED) analyses of synchrotron-derived X-ray scattering data, with and without installed tin species, show that the clusters formed after one cycle are spatially isolated, but that repetitive SIM cycling adds metal and oxygen ions in a way that enshrouds nodes, links clusters, and yields continuous one-dimensional strands of oxy-tin(IV), oriented exclusively along the c axis of the MOF. Two-probe conductivity measurements show that the parent MOF and the version containing isolated oxy-tin(IV) clusters are electrically insulating, but that the versions featuring continuous strands show an electrical conductivity of 1.8 × 10-7 S/cm after three Sn-SIM cycles. When combined with interdigitated microelectrodes, the solvent-free and conductive-glass-modified material (three Sn-SIM cycles) displays a substantial and persistent increase in electrical conductivity during exposure to 5% H2, indicating a role for dissociated H2 as an electronic dopant. The increase can be repetitively reversed by alternating H2 with air, illustrating the ability of the conductive MOF to function as a resistive sensor for H2 and suggesting further potential applications that may capitalize on the combination of high volumetric surface area, high mesoporosity, high chemical and thermal stability, and significant electrical conductivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30532-30540
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 12 2018


  • atomic layer deposition
  • hydrogen sensor
  • mesoporous materials
  • solvothermal installation
  • tin oxide
  • zirconium-based MOFs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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