The transformation of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to functional materials necessitates a detailed investigation of their crystal growth to produce desirable crystal forms and structures for future successful application. Some of the most pressing issues in this regard include understanding the formation of the structure, especially surrounding the void space, and determining routes to control crystal morphology and discover new materials. Direct real time observations at the nanoscale during growth, obtainable using atomic force microscopy (AFM), can reveal solutions to these problems. Here, we present the results of the first in situ AFM growth studies on the MOFs: ZIF-8 (SOD), MOF-5 and the ZIF-76 (LTA), that have enabled new routes to particular crystal forms and new materials, and a general mechanism for low supersaturation surface crystal growth of MOFs to be determined.
Prof. Angus Wilkinson (404-894-4036)