Controlling the alignment of 1D nanochannel arrays in oriented metal–organic framework films for host–guest materials design†
Controlling the direction of molecular-scale pores enables the accommodation of guest molecular-scale species with alignment in the desired direction, allowing for the development of high-performance mechanical, thermal, electronic, photonic and biomedical organic devices (host–guest approach). Regularly ordered 1D nanochannels of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) have been demonstrated as superior hosts for aligning functional molecules and polymers. However, controlling the orientation of MOF films with 1D nanochannels at commercially relevant scales remains a significant challenge. Here, we report the fabrication of macroscopically oriented films of Cu-based pillar-layered MOFs having regularly ordered 1D nanochannels. The direction of 1D nanochannels is controllable by optimizing the crystal growth process; 1D nanochannels align either perpendicular or parallel to substrates, offering molecular-scale pore arrays for a macroscopic alignment of functional guest molecules in the desired direction. Due to the fundamental interest and widespread technological importance of controlling the alignment of functional molecules and polymers in a particular direction, orientation-controllable MOF films will open up the possibility of realising the potential of MOFs in advanced technologies.