Exposed Equatorial Positions of Metal Centers via Sequential Ligand Elimination and Installation in MOFs.
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Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) provide highly designable platforms to construct complex coordination architectures for targeted applications. Herein, we demonstrate that trans-coordinated metal centers with exposed equatorial positions can be placed in a MOF matrix. A Zr-based MOF, namely, PCN-160, was initially synthesized as a scaffold structure. Postsynthetic linker labilization was subsequently implemented to partially remove the original dicarboxylate linkers and incorporate pyridinecarboxylates. A pair of neighboring pyridyl groups was arranged at proper proximity within the framework to form trans-binding sites that accommodate different metal cations including Mn2+, Fe2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+, and Pd2+. Furthermore, the trans-coordinated Ni2+ sites in porous frameworks can be readily accessed by substrates along the equatorial plane, facilitating the catalysis as manifested by the superior activity in ethylene dimerization over that observed for a cis-chelated catalyst.