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Acc Chem Res. 2013 Feb 19;46(2):493-505. doi: 10.1021/ar300212v. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Kinetic products in coordination networks: ab initio X-ray powder diffraction analysis.

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1
Italian Institute of Technology, Centre for Nano Science and Technology (CNST-IIT@PoliMi), Via Pascoli 70/3, 20133 Milan, Italy.

Abstract

Porous coordination networks are materials that maintain their crystal structure as molecular "guests" enter and exit their pores. They are of great research interest with applications in areas such as catalysis, gas adsorption, proton conductivity, and drug release. As with zeolite preparation, the kinetic states in coordination network preparation play a crucial role in determining the final products. Controlling the kinetic state during self-assembly of coordination networks is a fundamental aspect of developing further functionalization of this class of materials. However, unlike for zeolites, there are few structural studies reporting the kinetic products made during self-assembly of coordination networks. Synthetic routes that produce the necessary selectivity are complex. The structural knowledge obtained from X-ray crystallography has been crucial for developing rational strategies for design of organic-inorganic hybrid networks. However, despite the explosive progress in the solid-state study of coordination networks during the last 15 years, researchers still do not understand many chemical reaction processes because of the difficulties in growing single crystals suitable for X-ray diffraction: Fast precipitation can lead to kinetic (metastable) products, but in microcrystalline form, unsuitable for single crystal X-ray analysis. X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) routinely is used to check phase purity, crystallinity, and to monitor the stability of frameworks upon guest removal/inclusion under various conditions, but rarely is used for structure elucidation. Recent advances in structure determination of microcrystalline solids from ab initio XRPD have allowed three-dimensional structure determination when single crystals are not available. Thus, ab initio XRPD structure determination is becoming a powerful method for structure determination of microcrystalline solids, including porous coordination networks. Because of the great interest across scientific disciplines in coordination networks, especially porous coordination networks, the ability to determine crystal structures when the crystals are not suitable for single crystal X-ray analysis is of paramount importance. In this Account, we report the potential of kinetic control to synthesize new coordination networks and we describe ab initio XRPD structure determination to characterize these networks' crystal structures. We describe our recent work on selective instant synthesis to yield kinetically controlled porous coordination networks. We demonstrate that instant synthesis can selectively produce metastable networks that are not possible to synthesize by conventional solution chemistry. Using kinetic products, we provide mechanistic insights into thermally induced (573-723 K) (i.e., annealing method) structural transformations in porous coordination networks as well as examples of guest exchange/inclusion reactions. Finally, we describe a memory effect that allows the transfer of structural information from kinetic precursor structures to thermally stable structures through amorphous intermediate phases. We believe that ab initio XRPD structure determination will soon be used to investigate chemical processes that lead intrinsically to microcrystalline solids, which up to now have not been fully understood due to the unavailability of single crystals. For example, only recently have researchers used single-crystal X-ray diffraction to elucidate crystal-to-crystal chemical reactions taking place in the crystalline scaffold of coordination networks. The potential of ab initio X-ray powder diffraction analysis goes beyond single-crystal-to-single-crystal processes, potentially allowing members of this field to study intriguing in situ reactions, such as reactions within pores.

PMID:
23252592
DOI:
10.1021/ar300212v

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