Covalent organic frameworks: an ideal platform for designing ordered materials and advanced applications
Covalent organic frameworks offer a molecular platform for integrating organic units into periodically ordered yet extended two- and three-dimensional polymers to create topologically well-defined polygonal lattices and built-in discrete micropores and/or mesopores. This polymer architecture is unique as it enables predesigning both primary- and high-order structures, greatly enhancing our capabilities of designing organic materials to produce predictable structures and to achieve unique properties and functions. Progress over the past 15 years in the design, synthesis and functional exploration of COFs has successively established the basis of the COF field and COFs have shown the great potential of chemistry in developing a class of amazing organic materials. In this review, we focus on analysing the historic developments of COFs to uncover a full materials and application picture by providing comprehensive yet clear guidance for molecular design, synthetic control and functional exploration. We scrutinise the structural components of COFs including building blocks, reactive sites and functional groups with the aim of finding the origins of structural designability and diversity, as well as multiple functionalities. We disclose strategies for designing and synthesising frameworks to construct various tailor-made interfaces, and for exploring skeletons and pores to design properties and functions. With well-defined skeletons, pores and interfaces that offer a chemical basis to trigger and control interactions with photons, excitons, phonons, polarons, electrons, holes, spins, ions and molecules, we illustrate the current status of our understandings of structure–property correlations, and unveil the principles for establishing a regime to design unique functions that originate from and are inherent to structures. We predict the key central issues in design and synthesis, the challenges in functional design and the future directions from the perspectives of chemistry, physics and materials science.
- This article is part of the themed collection: New frontiers in covalent organic frameworks: design and applications