Liquid self-diffusion of H2O and DMF molecules in Co-MOF-74: molecular dynamics simulations and dielectric spectroscopy studies†
In this work we use molecular dynamics simulations to study the diffusion of N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) and H2O as a function of temperature within the well-known metal–organic framework Co2(dobdc)·[G] (G = 2DMF·1H2O), also known as Co-MOF-74. The molecular dynamics simulations show that the diffusivity of guest molecules, which is almost negligible at low temperatures (T < 200 K), increases in the range of 200 < T (K) < 400 up to 3 and 4 orders of magnitude for DMF and H2O, respectively. This molecular diffusion can be easily detected by dielectric spectroscopy as it gives rise to extrinsic interfacial polarization effects that result in an apparent “colossal” dielectric constant at room temperature, εr′ ∼ 42 000 (T = 300 K, ν = 10 Hz). Furthermore, the measured dielectric constant exhibits a thermal dependence similar to that of the diffusion coefficient, revealing the parallelism of the dielectric response and the molecular diffusion as a function of temperature. These results highlight: (a) the great utility of the fast and non-destructive dielectric and impedance spectroscopy techniques for the study and detection of the molecular transport of small polar molecules within porous metal-organic frameworks and related materials; (b) the peculiarity and uniqueness of MOF materials with “medium” size nanopores containing guest molecules as they are solid materials in which the guest molecules display a liquid state-like behaviour close to room temperature; and (c) the potential of these materials for molecular transport applications.