Enhanced proton conduction by post-synthetic covalent modification in a porous covalent framework†
A highly chemically stable porous covalent framework (PCF-1) based on ether linkages has been synthesized, which exhibits no loss up to ∼500 °C along with retention of integrity under acidic, basic and oxidative reagent conditions. Owing to its thermal and chemical stability, post-synthetic covalent modification was executed for the introduction of pendant sulphonic acid (–SO3H) groups. The covalently modified compound (PCF-1-SO3H) presents a remarkably high conductivity (ca. 0.026 S cm−1), with an ∼130 fold enhancement in proton conductivity over the parent compound. This value is comparable with those of commercially used Nafion-based proton conducting materials and stands as the highest known value in the regime of post-synthetically modified porous organic frameworks. It is noteworthy to mention that PCF-1 is stable in both acidic and alkaline media, which is not commonly observed for most of the porous materials trialed as proton conducting materials, including metal–organic frameworks.