Elucidating the mechanism responsible for anomalous thermal expansion in a metal–organic framework†
The previously reported anisotropic thermal expansion of a three-dimensional metal–organic framework (MOF) is examined by means of theoretical calculations. Inspection of the 100, 190, 280 and 370 K single crystal X-ray diffraction (SCD) structures indicated a concerted change in the coordination sphere of the zinc centre leading to elongation of the coordination helix in the crystallographic c direction (the Zn–O(H)–Zn angle expands), while the largely unaltered ligands (the Zn⋯L⋯Zn distance remains constant) are pulled closer together in the ab plane. This study develops and evaluates a mechanistic model at the DFT level of theory that reproduces the convergent expansion of the coordination helix of the material. The linear increase in energy calculated for extension of a model consisting of six zinc centres and truncated ligands compares favourably with results obtained from a periodic DFT evaluation of the SCD structures. It was also found that the anisotropic thermal expansion trend could be reproduced qualitatively by Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations in the NPT ensemble.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Flexibility and Disorder in Metal-Organic Frameworks