Nano Research

Article Title

Mild metal-organic-gel route for synthesis of stable sub-5-nm metal-organic framework nanocrystals


metal-organic gel, metal-organic frameworks, nanoparticles, liquid adsorption


ABSTRACT Nanoscale metal-organic frameworks (NMOFs) have attracted increased attention in recent years for miniaturized and/or biological applications. However, the synthesis of ultrasmall NMOFs with good stability is a great challenge. In this study, sub-5-nm nano-HKUST-1 was prepared for the first time via a mild metalorganic gel route without surfactants or capping agents. Controlling the gelation process via anion–ligand self-assembly is the key to the formation of NMOFs. The Tyndall effect, zeta potential, and liquid adsorption indicated strong stability of the obtained nano-HKUST-1, even in water. Adsorption experiments were performed using different dyes (crystal violet and methylene blue) to demonstrate the size-dependent adsorption thermodynamics and kinetics of this famous MOF. The results of this study provide new insights regarding the synthesis of NMOFs and their efficient applications.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press