Institute of Functional Interfaces

Defects as Color Centers: The Apparent Color of Metal–Organic Frameworks Containing Cu2+-Based Paddle-Wheel Units

  • chair:

    Kai Müller, K. / Fink, K. / Schöttner, L. / Koenig, M. / Heinke, L. / Wöll, C. (2017) 

  • place:

    ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9, 42, 37463–37467,
    DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b12045 

  • Date: Oktober 2017


As in the case of other semiconducting materials, optical and electronic properties of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) depend critically on defect densities and defect types. We demonstrate here that, in addition to the influence of imperfections on MOF chemical properties like guest binding energies and catalytic activity, the optical properties of these crystalline molecular solids also crucially depend on deviations from the perfect crystalline structure. By recording UV–vis absorption spectra for MOF thin films of particularly high quality, we demonstrate that low-defect samples of an important MOF, HKUST-1, are virtually colorless. Electronic structure calculations of the excited states by employing complete active space self-consistent field (CASSCF) calculations show that the d–d excitations in defects result in the typical green color of the MOF material synthesized by conventional methods.