Hierarchically porous UiO-66 with tunable mesopores and oxygen vacancies for enhanced arsenic removal†
Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) have attracted increasing interest for adsorption applications due to their ultrahigh porosity and specific surface area. However, their adsorption performance in liquids, particularly for water treatment, is significantly limited by the poor accessibility of micropores inside the MOF matrix to most molecules and deficient active sites. Herein, we use a facile strategy, ligand selective thermolysis, to create oxygen vacancies and construct mesopores in water stable UiO-66. The obtained hierarchically porous UiO-66 (HP-UiO-66) has tunable oxygen vacancies and mesopores, and outperforms the state-of-the-art MOF based adsorbents reported so far in removing arsenic, achieving an ultrahigh adsorption capacity of 248.75 mg g−1 under neutral conditions. Extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) and X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) analysis and density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that arsenic is mainly captured by forming bidentate Zr–O–As bonds between arsenate and HP-UiO-66 via occupying coordinatively unsaturated zirconium atoms. This study offers a new strategy for designing ultrahigh performance MOF based adsorbents.