Metal-organic framework nanocrystals as sacrificial templates for hollow and exceptionally porous titania and composite materials

Hui Yang, Paul E Kruger, Shane G Telfer
Inorganic Chemistry 2015 October 5, 54 (19): 9483-90
We report a strategy that employs metal-organic framework (MOF) crystals in two roles for the fabrication of hollow nanomaterials. In the first role the MOF crystals provide a template on which a shell of material can be deposited. Etching of the MOF produces a hollow structure with a predetermined size and morphology. In combination with this strategy, the MOF crystals, including guest molecules in their pores, can provide the components of a secondary material that is deposited inside the initially formed shell. We used this approach to develop a straightforward and reproducible method for constructing well-defined, nonspherical hollow and exceptionally porous titania and titania-based composite nanomaterials. Uniform hollow nanostructures of amorphous titania, which assume the cubic or polyhedral shape of the original template, are delivered using nano- and microsized ZIF-8 and ZIF-67 crystal templates. These materials exhibit outstanding textural properties including hierarchical pore structures and BET surface areas of up to 800 m(2)/g. As a proof of principle, we further demonstrate that metal nanoparticles such as Pt nanoparticles, can be encapsulated into the TiO2 shell during the digestion process and used for subsequent heterogeneous catalysis. In addition, we show that the core components of the ZIF nanocrystals, along with their adsorbed guests, can be used as precursors for the formation of secondary materials, following their thermal decomposition, to produce hollow and porous metal sulfide/titania or metal oxide/titania composite nanostructures.

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