Principles of Designing Extra-Large Pore Openings and Cages in Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks

Jingjing Yang,# Yue-Biao Zhang,# Qi Liu, Christopher A. Trickett, Enrique Gutiérrez-Puebla, M. Ángeles Monge, Hengjiang Cong, Abdulrahman Aldossary, Hexiang Deng,* and Omar M. Yaghi*
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 , 6448–6455
We report three design principles for obtaining extra-large pore openings and cages in the metal–organic analogues of inorganic zeolites, zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs). Accordingly, we prepared a series of 15 ZIFs, members of which have the largest pore opening (22.5 Å) and the largest cage size (45.8 Å) known for all porous tetrahedral structures. The key parameter allowing us to access these exceptional ZIFs is what we define as the steric index (δ), which is related to the size and shape of the imidazolate linkers employed in the synthesis. The three principles are based on using multiple linkers with specific range and ratios of δ to control the size of rings and cages from small to large, and therefore are universally applicable to all existing ZIFs. The ZIF with the largest cage size (ZIF-412) shows the best selectivity of porous materials tested toward removal of octane and p-xylene from humid air.