Observation of reduced thermal conductivity in a metal-organic framework due to the presence of adsorbates

Hasan Babaei, Mallory E. DeCoster, Minyoung Jeong, Zeinab M. Hassan, Timur Islamoglu, Helmut Baumgart, Alan J.H. McGaughey, Engelbert Redel, Omar K. Farha, Patrick E. Hopkins, Jonathan A. Malen, Christopher E. Wilmer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Whether the presence of adsorbates increases or decreases thermal conductivity in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) has been an open question. Here we report observations of thermal transport in the metal-organic framework HKUST-1 in the presence of various liquid adsorbates: water, methanol, and ethanol. Experimental thermoreflectance measurements were performed on single crystals and thin films, and theoretical predictions were made using molecular dynamics simulations. We find that the thermal conductivity of HKUST-1 decreases by 40 – 80% depending on the adsorbate, a result that cannot be explained by effective medium approximations. Our findings demonstrate that adsorbates introduce additional phonon scattering in HKUST-1, which particularly shortens the lifetimes of low-frequency phonon modes. As a result, the system thermal conductivity is lowered to a greater extent than the increase expected by the creation of additional heat transfer channels. Finally, we show that thermal diffusivity is even more greatly reduced than thermal conductivity by adsorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4010
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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