Moisture-triggered proton conductivity switching in metal-organic frameworks: role of coordinating solvents

Hong Kyu Lee, Yasaswini Oruganti, Jonghyeon Lee, Seunghee Han, Jihan Kim, Dohyun Moon, Min Kim, Dae Woon Lim, Hoi Ri Moon

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Metal-organic frameworks are a good platform for investigating the correlation of structures with physical properties due to the facile coordination environment changes and their responsive structures to external stimuli such as pressure, temperature, and gas sorption. In this study, we report a proton conductivity switching behavior in Zn5FDC, [Zn53-OH)2(FDC)4(solvent)2] (FDC = 9H-fluorene-2,7-dicarboxylate) triggered by relative humidity (RH). Interestingly, depending on the presence and absence of coordinating molecules the MOFs show distinctively different tendencies in their proton conductivity. Two isostructural Zn5FDC compounds, [Zn53-OH)2(DEF)2(FDC)4] (Zn5FDC-DEF) and [Zn53-OH)2(FDC)4] (Zn5FDC-OMS; OMS = open metal site), are prepared, in which the three-dimensional connectivities are identical, but the local structures in the secondary building units (SBUs) are different. In the measurement of humidity-dependent conductivity, both MOFs show a dramatic proton conductivity switching phenomenon (ON/OFF ratio, approximately 108), but the conductivity switching occurs at different RHs for each MOF (above RH 70% in Zn5FDC-DEF, and above RH 90% in Zn5FDC-OMS at 298 K). During this process water coordination in metal centers leads to their structural transformation into Zn5FDC-H2O, which means that the different coordination structures by the absence/presence of coordination solvents provide different water access environments to metal centers. The computational calculation supports that the structural transformation of Zn5FDC-OMS triggered by moisture exposure occurred under higher relative humidity conditions than simple coordination solvent replacement in Zn5FDC-DEF. This study proves that the coordination solvents play a role in conductivity variation, and it provides a new design strategy for functional solid-state proton conductors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-801
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number2
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2023

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