Creating Hierarchical Pores by Controlled Linker Thermolysis in Multivariate Metal-Organic Frameworks.
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Sufficient pore size, appropriate stability, and hierarchical porosity are three prerequisites for open frameworks designed for drug delivery, enzyme immobilization, and catalysis involving large molecules. Herein, we report a powerful and general strategy, linker thermolysis, to construct ultrastable hierarchically porous metal-organic frameworks (HP-MOFs) with tunable pore size distribution. Linker instability, usually an undesirable trait of MOFs, was exploited to create mesopores by generating crystal defects throughout a microporous MOF crystal via thermolysis. The crystallinity and stability of HP-MOFs remain after thermolabile linkers are selectively removed from multivariate metal-organic frameworks (MTV-MOFs) through a decarboxylation process. A domain-based linker spatial distribution was found to be critical for creating hierarchical pores inside MTV-MOFs. Furthermore, linker thermolysis promotes the formation of ultrasmall metal oxide nanoparticles immobilized in an open framework that exhibits high catalytic activity for Lewis acid-catalyzed reactions. Most importantly, this work provides fresh insights into the connection between linker apportionment and vacancy distribution, which may shed light on probing the disordered linker apportionment in multivariate systems, a long-standing challenge in the study of MTV-MOFs.