The electronic properties of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are increasingly attracting the attention due to potential applications in sensor techniques and (micro-) electronic engineering, for instance, as low-k-dielectric in semiconductor technology.
Here, the band gap and the band structure of MOFs of type HKUST-1 are studied in detail by means of spectroscopic ellipsometry applied to thin surface-mounted MOF films and by means of quantum chemical calculations. The analysis of the density of states, the band structure, and the excitation spectrum reveal the importance of the empty Cu-3d orbitals for the electronic properties of HKUST-1.
This study shows that, in contrast to common belief, even in the case of this fairly “simple” MOF, the excitation spectra cannot be explained by a superposition of “intra-unit” excitations within the individual building blocks. Instead, “inter-unit” excitations also have to be considered.