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Surface Structure of MOF Revealed by High-Resolution Atomic Force Microscopy

Researchers in Europe have investigated the surface structure of an individual metal-organic framework (MOF) microcrystal grown on a functionalized surface for the first time in air and vacuum using high-resolution atomic force microscopy. Among their other potential uses, MOFs are being investigated for hydrogen storage applications.

Images of the MOF crystal. Click to enlarge.

The data from the surface analysis was utilized to optimize the MOF formation procedure to obtain a defect-free surface structure. Comparison of obtained data with recent microscopic studies performed on the same MOF crystal but grown by a conventional procedure shows a much higher quality of crystals produced by surface oriented growth.

The new method for preparing crystals suitable for microscopic analysis is also much faster (3 days compared to 2 years) and, in contrast to the conventional method, produces material suitable for in situ study. These results thus demonstrate for the first time the possibility of nanoscale investigation/modification of MOF surface structure.

The work is described in a paper published online 14 October in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


  • Katarzyna Szelagowska-Kunstman, Piotr Cyganik, Maria Goryl, Denise Zacher, Zita Puterova, Roland A. Fischer, and Marek Szymonski (2008) Surface Structure of Metal-Organic Framework Grown on Self-Assembled Monolayers Revealed by High-Resolution Atomic Force Microscopy. ASAP J. Am. Chem. Soc., doi: 10.1021/ja8069743


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