Tuning the Photocatalytic Activity of Ti-Based Metal-Organic Frameworks through Modulator Defect-Engineered Functionalization

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2022 May 11;14(18):21007-21017. doi: 10.1021/acsami.2c02668. Epub 2022 Apr 28.


Defect engineering is a valuable tool to tune the photocatalytic activity of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Inducing defects through the attachment of functionalized modulators can introduce cooperative units that can tune the bandgap of the material and enhance their chemical, thermal, and photostabilities among other properties. However, the majority of defect engineering studies for photocatalytic applications are limited to Zr-based MOFs, and there is still a lack of interrelation between synthetic variables, the resultant MOF properties, and their effect on their photocatalytic performance. We report a comprehensive study on the defect engineering of the titanium heterometallic MOF MUV-10 by fluoro- and hydroxy-isophthalic acid (Iso) modulators, rationalizing the effect of the materials' properties on their photocatalytic activity for hydrogen production. The Iso-OH modified MOFs present a volcano-type profile with a 2.3-fold increase in comparison to the pristine materials, whereas the Iso-F modified samples have a gradual increase with up to a 4.2-fold enhancement. It has been demonstrated that ∼9% of Iso-OH modulator incorporation produces ∼40% defects, inducing band gap reduction and longer excited states lifetime. Similar defect percentages have been generated upon near 40% Iso-F modulator incorporation; however, negligible band gap changes and shorter excited states lifetimes were determined. The higher photocatalytic activity in Iso-F modulator derived MOF has been attributed to the effect of the divergent defect-compensation modes on the materials' photostability and to the increase in the external surface area upon introduction of Iso-F modulator.

Keywords: defects; functionalized materials; metal−organic frameworks; photocatalysis; photostability; porous materials.