Formation of hollow and mesoporous structures in single-crystalline microcrystals of metal–organic frameworks via double-solvent mediated overgrowth†
The creation of hierarchical porosity in metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) could benefit various applications of MOFs such as gas storage and separation. Having single-crystalline microcrystals instead of poly-crystalline composites is critical for these potential applications of MOFs with hierarchical porosity. We developed a room temperature synthetic method to generate uniform hollow and mesoporous zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) microcrystals with a single-crystalline structure via overgrowing a ZIF-8 shell in methanol solution on a ZIF-8 core with water adsorbed in the pores. The cavities formed as a result of the different solvent micro-environment. This double-solvent mediated overgrowth method could be applied to prepare other MOFs with hierarchical porosity.