Confined crystallization of a HKUST-1 metal–organic framework within mesostructured silica with enhanced structural resistance towards water†
A HKUST-1 metal–organic framework was crystallized in the NH2-modified mesostructured silica FDU-12 in order to improve its structural stability upon water exposure. In-depth structural characterization studies of the designed composite confirmed successful formation of the MOF phase within the ordered spherical mesopores of the silica matrix. In spite of the confinement within the cavities, MOF exhibits full accessibility for the adsorbed gas molecules. In contrast to the bulk HKUST-1, which undergoes slow phase transition in a humid environment, the structural integrity of the HKUST-1 in the humid-protective matrix remains unchanged even after immersion and stirring in water at elevated temperature.