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Acc Chem Res. 2005 Mar;38(3):176-82.

Reticular chemistry: occurrence and taxonomy of nets and grammar for the design of frameworks.

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Materials Design and Discovery Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


The structures of all 1127 three-periodic extended metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) reported in the Cambridge Structure Database have been analyzed, and their underlying topology has been determined. It is remarkable that among the almost infinite number of net topologies that are available for MOFs to adopt, only a handful of nets are actually observed. The discovery of this inversion between expected and observed nets led us to deduce a system of classification "taxonomy" for interpreting and rationalizing known MOF structures, as well as those that will be made in future. The origin of this inversion is attributed to the different modes with which MOF synthesis has been approached. Specifically, three levels of complexity are defined that embody rules "grammar" for the design of MOFs and other extended structures. This system accounts for the present proliferation of MOF structures of high symmetry nets, but more importantly, it provides the basis for designing a building block that "codes" for a specific structure and, indeed, only that structure.

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