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J Am Chem Soc. 2014 May 21;136(20):7403-9. doi: 10.1021/ja502238a. Epub 2014 May 7.

Metal-organic frameworks with mechanically interlocked pillars: controlling ring dynamics in the solid-state via a reversible phase change.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Windsor , Windsor, Ontario Canada , N9B 3P4.


Metal-organic framework (MOF) materials have been prepared that contain a mechanically interlocked molecule (MIM) as the pillaring strut between two periodic Zn-carboxylate layers. The MIM linker is a [2]rotaxane with a [24]crown-6 (24C6) macrocycle and an aniline-based axle with terminal pyridine donor groups. The single-crystal X-ray structures of MOFs UWDM-2 (1,4-diazophenyl-dicarboxylate) and UWDM-3 (1,4-biphenyl-dicarboxylate) show that both frameworks are large enough to contain the free volume required for rotation of the interlocked 24C6 macrocycle, but the frameworks are interpenetrated (UWDM-2, three-fold, and UWDM-3, two-fold). In particular, for UWDM-3 the 24C6 rings of the pillaring MIM are positioned directly inside the square openings of neighboring zinc dicarboxylate layers. Variable-temperature (VT) (2)H SSNMR demonstrated that the 24C6 macrocycles in UWDM-2 and UWDM-3 can only undergo restricted motions related to ring flexibility or partial rotation but are incapable of undergoing free rotation. VT-powder X-ray diffraction studies showed that upon activation of UWDM-3, by removing solvent, a phase change occurs. The new β-phase of UWDM-3 retained crystallinity, and (2)H SSNMR demonstrated that the 24C6 macrocyclic ring of the pillared MIM strut is now free enough to undergo full rotation. Most importantly, the phase change is reversible; the β version of the MOF can be reverted to the original α state by resolvation, thus demonstrating, for the first time, that the dynamics of a MIM inside a solid material can be controlled by a reversible phase change.


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