[Ti8Zr2O12(COO)16] Cluster: An Ideal Inorganic Building Unit for Photoactive Metal-Organic Frameworks

ACS Cent Sci. 2018 Jan 24;4(1):105-111. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00497. Epub 2017 Nov 29.


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) based on Ti-oxo clusters (Ti-MOFs) represent a naturally self-assembled superlattice of TiO2 nanoparticles separated by designable organic linkers as antenna chromophores, epitomizing a promising platform for solar energy conversion. However, despite the vast, diverse, and well-developed Ti-cluster chemistry, only a scarce number of Ti-MOFs have been documented. The synthetic conditions of most Ti-based clusters are incompatible with those required for MOF crystallization, which has severely limited the development of Ti-MOFs. This challenge has been met herein by the discovery of the [Ti8Zr2O12(COO)16] cluster as a nearly ideal building unit for photoactive MOFs. A family of isoreticular photoactive MOFs were assembled, and their orbital alignments were fine-tuned by rational functionalization of organic linkers under computational guidance. These MOFs demonstrate high porosity, excellent chemical stability, tunable photoresponse, and good activity toward photocatalytic hydrogen evolution reactions. The discovery of the [Ti8Zr2O12(COO)16] cluster and the facile construction of photoactive MOFs from this cluster shall pave the way for the development of future Ti-MOF-based photocatalysts.