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Publication: Untwisted restacking of two-dimensional metal-organic framework nanosheets for highly selective isomer separations

Prof. Zhiyuan Gu published their research papers in NATURE COMMUNICATIONS (201907,10,2911)


The stacking between nanosheets is an intriguing and inevitable phenomenon in the chemistry of nano-interfaces. Two-dimensional metal-organic framework nanosheets are an emerging type of nanosheets with ultrathin and porous features, which have high potential in separation applications. Here, the stacking between single-layer metal-organic framework nanosheets is revealed to show three representative conformations with tilted angles of 8 degrees, 14 degrees, and 30 degrees for Zr-1, 3, 5-(4-carboxylphenyl)-benzene framework as an example. Efficient untwisted stacking strategy by simple heating is proposed. A detailed structural analysis of stacking modes reveals the creation of highly ordered sub-nanometer micropores in the interspacing of untwisted nano-layers, yielding a high-resolution separator for the pair of para-/meta-isomers over the twisted counterparts and commercial HP-5MS and VF-WAXMS columns. This general method is proven by additional nanosheet examples and supported by Grand Canonical Monte Carlo simulation. This finding will provide a synthetic route in the rational design of functionalities in two-dimensional metal-organic framework nanosheet.