Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 16, 2017
Previous Article Next Article

Nonlinear optical properties, upconversion and lasing in metal–organic frameworks

Author affiliations


The building block modular approach that lies behind coordination polymers (CPs) and metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) results not only in a plethora of materials that can be obtained but also in a vast array of material properties that could be aimed at. Optical properties appear to be particularly predetermined by the character of individual structural units and by the intricate interplay between them. Indeed, the “design principles” shaping the optical properties of these materials seem to be well explored for luminescence and second-harmonic generation (SHG) phenomena; these have been covered in numerous previous reviews. Herein, we shine light on CPs and MOFs as optical media for state-of-the-art photonic phenomena such as multi-photon absorption, triplet–triplet annihilation (TTA) and stimulated emission. In the first part of this review we focus on the nonlinear optical (NLO) properties of CPs and MOFs, with a closer look at the two-photon absorption property. We discuss the scope of applicability of most commonly used measurement techniques (Z-scan and two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF)) that can be applied for proper determination of the NLO properties of these materials; in particular, we suggest recommendations for their use, along with a discussion of the best reporting practices of NLO parameters. We also outline design principles, employing both intramolecular and intermolecular strategies, that are necessary for maximizing the NLO response. A review of recent literature on two-, three- and multi-photon absorption in CPs and MOFs is further supplemented with application-oriented processes such as two-photon 3D patterning and data storage. Additionally, we provide an overview of the latest achievements in the field of frequency doubling (SHG) and tripling (third-harmonic generation, THG) in these materials. Apart from nonlinear processes, in the next sections we also target the photonic properties of MOFs that benefit from their porosity, and resulting from this their ability to serve as containers for optically-active molecules. Thus, we survey dye@MOF composites as novel media in which efficient upconversion via triplet energy migration (TEM) occurs as well as materials for stimulated emission and multi-photon pumped lasing. Prospects for producing lasing as an intrinsic property of MOFs has also been discussed. Overall, further development of the optical processes highlighted herein should allow for realization of various photonic, data storage, biomedical and optoelectronic applications.

Graphical abstract: Nonlinear optical properties, upconversion and lasing in metal–organic frameworks

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 01 Mar 2017 and first published on 16 Jun 2017

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CS00162B
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2017,46, 4976-5004
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Nonlinear optical properties, upconversion and lasing in metal–organic frameworks

    R. Medishetty, J. K. Zaręba, D. Mayer, M. Samoć and R. A. Fischer, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2017, 46, 4976
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CS00162B

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author