Reticular design and crystal structure determination of covalent organic frameworks
Reticular chemistry of covalent organic frameworks (COFs) deals with the linking of discrete organic molecular building units into extended structures adopting various topologies by strong covalent bonds. The past decade has witnessed a rapid development of COF chemistry in terms of both structural diversity and applications. From the structural perspective, irrespective of our subject of concern with regard to COFs, it is inevitable to take into account the structural aspects of COFs in all dimensions from 1D ribbons to 3D frameworks, for which understanding the concepts of reticular chemistry, based mainly on ‘reticular design’, will seemingly lead to unlimited ways of exploring the exquisiteness of this advanced class of porous, extended, and crystalline materials. A comprehensive discussion and understanding of reticular design, therefore, is of paramount importance so that everyone willing to research on COFs can interpret well and chemically correlate the geometrical structures of this subset of reticular materials and their practical applications. This article lies at the heart of using the conceptual basis of reticular chemistry for designing, modeling, and determination of novel infinite and crystalline structures. Especially, the structure determinations are described by means of chronological advances of discoveries and development of COFs whereby their crystal structures are elucidated by modeling through the topological approach, 3D electron diffraction, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, and powder X-ray diffraction techniques.