Role of modulators in controlling the colloidal stability and polydispersity of the UiO-66 metal-organic framework

William Morris, Shunzhi Wang, David Cho, Evelyn Auyeung, Peng Li, Omar K. Farha, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Nanoscale UiO-66 Zr6(OH)4O4(C6O4H4)6 has been synthesized with a series of carboxylic acid modulators, R-COOH (where R = H, CH3, CF3, and CHC12). The phase purity and size of each MOF was confirmed by powder X-ray diffraction, BET surface area analysis, and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). Size control of UiO-66 crystals from 20 nm to over 1 μm was achieved, and confirmed by STEM. The colloidal stability of each MOF was evaluated by dynamic light scattering and was found to be highly dependent on the modulator conditions utilized in the synthesis, with both lower pKa and higher acid concentration resulting in more stable structures. Furthermore, STEM was carried out on both colloidally stable samples and those that exhibited a large degree of aggregation, which allowed for visualization of the different degrees of dispersion of the samples. The use of modulators at higher concentrations and with lower pKas leads to the formation of more defects, as a consequence of terephthalic acid ligands being replaced by modulator molecules, thereby enhancing the colloidal stability of the UiO-66 nanoparticles. These findings could have a significant impact on nanoscale MOF material syntheses and applications, especially in the areas of catalysis and drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33413-33418
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 4 2017


  • Colloidal stability
  • Coordination modulation
  • Metal-organic frameworks
  • Nanoparticle
  • Size control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of modulators in controlling the colloidal stability and polydispersity of the UiO-66 metal-organic framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this