Reticular Chemistry for Highly Porous Metal-Organic Frameworks: The Chemistry and Applications

Zhijie Chen, Kent O. Kirlikovali, Peng Li, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


ConspectusCurrent global crises related to clean energy and the environment entail the development of materials that are capable of addressing these challenges. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a class of functional materials assembled from metal-containing nodes and organic ligands via coordination bonds, have been successfully developed for various applications, including catalysis, toxic chemical removal, and gas storage and separation, as a result of their highly tailorable nature and precisely engineered pore structures. In particular, the exceptionally high surface areas and porosities of MOFs are two of their most attractive characteristics and place them among the best porous materials for the storage of clean energy gases, such as hydrogen and methane. Reticular chemistry stands out as a prominent approach to the design of MOFs as this strategy allows for the rational top-down design of frameworks guided by topological nets to afford extended framework structures with precise architectural arrangements at the molecular level. Bridging the gap between reticular chemistry design strategies and highly porous MOFs can facilitate the development of next-generation high-performance materials through state-of-the-art chemical design.In this Account, we summarize our group's efforts over the past few years toward the synthesis and applications of highly porous MOFs inspired by reticular chemistry. First, we describe how we leveraged reticular chemistry to synthesize NU-1500, which is based on the 6-connected edge-transitive acs net, from the assembly of triptycene-based ligands and high-valent metal trimers. This delicate design is amenable to isoreticular expansion, and including an additional phenyl group in the rigid triptycene-based ligand of NU-1500 yields NU-1501. Importantly, NU-1501-Al exhibits both a high gravimetric Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) area of 7310 m2 g-1, which is the current record after satisfying the four BET consistency criteria, and a volumetric BET area of 2060 m2 cm-3. The high porosity and surface area place NU-1501 among the most promising adsorbents for the storage of methane and hydrogen. Second, we illustrate the rational synthesis of highly porous and stable Zr-MOFs based on edge-transitive nets: (1) the successful isoreticular expansions of NU-1000 (a 4,8-connected csq net) form hierarchical mesoporous MOFs with pore sizes of up to 6.7 nm; (2) the assembly of Zr6 clusters and tetracarboxylates yields the NU-1100 series (4,12-connected ftw net) with BET areas of 4300-6500 m2 g-1 and (3) the use of hexacarboxylates in combination with Zr6 clusters results in the formation of the NU-1600 series (a 6,12-connected alb net) with BET areas of 2000-4500 m2 g-1. Third, we leveraged a reticular exploration strategy to access mesoporous uranium-based MOFs, NU-1300 (a 3,4-connected tbo net, 2100 m2 g-1) and NU-1301 (a 3-connected nun net, 4750 m2 g-1). In particular, we investigated the structurally complex NU-1301, which formed serendipitously from the combination of uranyl clusters and triangular carboxylates to afford a structure with the largest unit cell among all reported MOFs.Finally, we provide an overview of potential applications of these highly porous MOFs, including water capture, catalysis, methane storage, hydrogen storage, and the separation of organic dyes and biological macromolecules. We hope that this Account may serve as a blueprint and stimulate researchers to develop the next generation of highly porous materials for energy- and environment-related applications and beyond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-591
Number of pages13
JournalAccounts of chemical research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Reticular Chemistry for Highly Porous Metal-Organic Frameworks: The Chemistry and Applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this