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Metal-Organic Nanotubes

Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are a significant class of porous materials composed of metal ions bound together by organic linkers. These materials can be designed as 3D, 2D, and 1D materials. Metal-organic nanotubes (MONTs) are the 1D analogues of MOFs.  MONTs are expected to exhibit unique anisotropic properties in a similar fashion to other dimensional allotropes, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. While 2D and 3D MOFs have been well developed, their 1D counterparts are still in their infancy. An interest in these tubular nanomaterials, whose potential remains largely unexplored, has compelled coordination chemists to develop rational methodologies that allow for their preparation and study. We are seeking new approaches for synthesizing discrete or small bundles of MONTs, including utilizing ligands with expanded π-systems to promote π-π interactions along each nanotube and manipulating the solvothermal reaction conditions to promote stable colloidal MONT formation as opposed to crystalline MONT growth. We also collaborate with the Gianneschi group at Northwestern University to study MONT formation with solution state transition election microscopy (TEM) and the Dadmun group at UT to study MONT formation via small angle neutron scattering (SANS).

Figure 1. Proposed growth cycle that leads to formation of crystalline MONT. Initial microcrystals form through either 1D MONTs that then aggregate or 3D aggregates that then elongate to form tubes. Once microcrystals are formed, crystal growth proceeds through a different mechanism.

Notable Publications

Isostructural Synthesis of Porous Metal-Organic Nanotubes, Murdock, Christopher R. Jenkins, David, M. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136, 10983–10988.

Insights into the Morphology and Kinetics of Growth of Silver Metal–Organic Nanotubes, Etampawala, Thusitha; Mull, Derek L.; Keum, Jong K.; Jenkins, David M.; Dadmun, Mark Cryst. Growth Des., 2016, 16, 1395–1403.

Elucidating the Growth of Metal-Organic Nanotubes Combining Isoreticular Synthesis with Liquid-Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy, Vailonis, Kristina M.; Gnanasekaran, Karthikeyan; Powers, Xian B.; Gianneschi, Nathan C.; Jenkins, David M. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 10177-10182.