X-ray Crystallography in Open-Framework Materials

Witold M. Bloch, Neil R. Champness, Christian J. Doonan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Open-framework materials, such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and coordination polymers have been widely investigated for their gas adsorption and separation properties. However, recent studies have demonstrated that their highly crystalline structures can be used to periodically organize guest molecules and non-structural metal compounds either within their pore voids or by anchoring to their framework architecture. Accordingly, the open framework can act as a matrix for isolating and elucidating the structures of these moieties by X-ray diffraction. This concept has broad scope for development as an analytical tool where obtaining single crystals of a target molecule presents a significant challenge and it additionally offers potential for obtaining insights into chemically reactive species that can be stabilized within the pore network. However, the technique does have limitations and as yet a general experimental method has not been realized. Herein we focus on recent examples in which framework materials have been utilized as a scaffold for ordering molecules for analysis by diffraction methods and canvass areas for future exploration. Molecules made to order: Open-framework materials are typically studied for their gas-sorption properties. However, recent work has demonstrated that the crystalline architectures of such materials can be utilized to periodically order non-structural atoms and guest molecules. Recent examples where such framework materials have been utilized as a host matrix for crystallization are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12860-12867
Number of pages8
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • coordination polymers
  • crystallization matrix
  • metal-organic frameworks
  • structure elucidation
  • X-ray crystallography


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