X-ray radiation-induced amorphization of metal–organic frameworks†
We report the amorphization of three metal–organic frameworks, ZIF-4, ZIF-62, and ZIF-zni, by synchrotron X-ray radiation. Complete amorphization of these structures occurs on timescales ranging from minutes to hours. This process is non-isokinetic in all three cases, given a varying transformation rate as the transformation proceeds. The underlying mechanism bears the signature of inhomogeneous nucleation, reflected by an increasing local Avrami exponent over time. Furthermore, the amorphization rate accelerates with increasing temperature, even far below the usual thermal stability limit of each crystalline phase. These results not only have important implications for interpretation of X-ray synchrotron studies on the stability of metal–organic frameworks, they also shed light on the rarely-discussed and generally unpredictable experimental problem of beam damage in organic and inorganic compounds in general.