Rapid mechanochemical synthesis of metal–organic frameworks using exogenous organic base†
Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) bearing coordinatively unsaturated metal centers, exemplified by the MOF-74 family of frameworks, are promising for applications ranging from gas separations and storage to Lewis acid catalysis. However, the scalable synthesis of MOF-74 analogues remains a significant challenge. Recently, mechanochemistry has emerged as a sustainable strategy for the preparation of MOFs in the solid state with minimal solvent waste. Mechanochemical methods typically rely on metal salts bearing basic anions to deprotonate the conjugate acid of the organic linker and a small amount of organic solvent or water to facilitate liquid assisted grinding. Here, we demonstrate that the liquid exogenous organic base Hünig's base (N,N-diisopropylethylamine) can fulfill both roles, enabling the mechanochemical synthesis of M2(dobdc) analogues (M = Mg, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn; dobdc4− = 2,5-dioxidobenzene-1,4-dicarboxylate) using metal nitrate salts in only 5 minutes at room temperature. Importantly, we demonstrate that this straightforward method can be generalized to prepare the isomeric framework Mg2(m-dobdc) (m-dobdc4− = 2,4-dioxidobenzene-1,5-dicarboxylate) and the expanded framework Mg2(dobpdc) (dobpdc4− = 4,4′-dioxidobiphenyl-3,3′-dicarboxylate) under solvent-free conditions for the first time. The MOFs prepared using this method possess high crystallinities and surface areas, with the Mg2(m-dobdc) prepared herein representing the first reported permanently porous variant of this framework. This new sustainable mechanochemical synthesis of MOF-74 analogues should enable their preparation on a large scale for industrial applications.