Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Zaworotko, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Brian Space, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jon Antilla, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julie Harmon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gregory McColm, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shengqian Ma, Ph.D.


CH4 and H2 Storage, CO2 Capture, Crystal Engineering, Metal-Organic Frameworks, Porous Materials, Topology


Metal-organic materials (MOMs) represent a unique class of porous materials that captured a great scientific interest in various fields such as chemical engineering, physics and materials science. They are typically assembled from metal ions or metal clusters connected by multifunctional organic ligands. They represent a wide range of families of materials that varied from 0D to 3D networks: the discrete (0D) structures exemplified by metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs), cubes and nanoballs while the polymeric 1D, 2D and 3D structures exemplified by coordination polymers (CPs). Indeed, the porous 3D structures include metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), porous coordination polymers (PCPs) and porous coordination networks (PCNs). Nevertheless, MOMs are long and well-known from more than 50 years ago as exemplified by CPs that were firstly introduced in early 1960s and reviewed in 1964. However, the scientific interest toward MOMs has been enormously grown only since late 1990s, with the discovery of MOMs with novel properties, especially the high permanent porosity as exemplified by MOF-5 and HKUST-1. The inherent tunability of MOMs from the de novo design to the post-synthetic modification along with their robustness, afford numerous important families of nets "platforms" such as pcu, dia, tbo, mtn and rht topology networks.

There are more than 20,000 crystal structures of MOMs in the Cambridge Structure Database (CSD). However, only a few of the networks can be regarded as families or platforms where the structure is robust, fine-tunable and inherently modular. Such robustness and inherent modularity of the platforms allow the bottom-up control over the structure "form comes before function" which subsequently facilitates the systematic study of structure/function in hitherto unprecedented way compared with the traditional screening approaches that are commonly used in materials science. In this context, we present the crystal engineering of two MOM platforms; dia and novel fsc platforms as well we introduce the novel two-step synthetic approach using trigonal prismatic clusters to build multinodal 2D and 3D MOM platforms.

For the dia platform, we introduce a novel strategy to control over the level of the interpenetration of dia topology nets via solvent-template control and study the impact of the resulting different pore sizes on the squeezing of CH4, CO2 and H2 gases. New benchmark material for methane isosteric heat of adsorption was produced from this novel work.

Indeed we introduce the crystal engineering of a novel versatile 4,6-c fsc platform that is formed from linking two of the longest known and most widely studied MBBs: the square planar MBB [Cu(AN)4]2+( AN = aromatic nitrogen donor) and square paddlewheel MBB [Cu2(CO2R)4] that are connected by five different linkers with different length, L1-L5. The resulting square grid nets formed from alternating [Cu(AN)4]2+ and [Cu2(CO2R)4] moieties are pillared at the axial sites of the [Cu(AN)4]2+ MBBs with dianionic pillars to form neutral 3D 4,6-connected fsc (four, six type c) nets. Pore size control in this family of fsc nets was exerted by varying the length of the linker ligand whereas pore chemistry was implemented by unsaturated metal centers (UMCs) and the use of either inorganic or organic pillars. 1,5-naphthalenedisulfonate (NDS) anions pillar in an angular fashion to afford fsc-1-NDS, fsc-2-NDS, fsc-3-NDS, fsc-4-NDS and fsc-5-NDS from L1-L5, respectively. Experimental CO2 sorption studies revealed higher isosteric heat of adsorption (Qst) for the compound with the smaller pore size (fsc-1-NDS). Computational studies revealed that there is higher CO2 occupancy about the UMCs in fsc-1-NDS compared to other extended variants that were synthesized with NDS. SiF62- (SIFSIX) anions in fsc-2-SIFSIX form linear pillars that result in eclipse [Cu2(CO2R)4] moieties at a distance of just 5.86 Å. The space between the [Cu2(CO2R)4] moieties is a strong CO2 binding site that can be regarded as being an example of a single-molecule trap; this finding has been supported by modeling studies.

Furthermore, we present herein the implementation of the two-step synthetic approach for the construction of novel multinodal MOM platforms, using the trigonal prism cluster [M33-O)(RCO2)6] as a precursor to build novel stable multinodal 2D and 3D frameworks. In the first step, the bifunctional carboxylate ligands are reacted with Fe+3 or Cr+3 salts to isolate highly symmetrical decorated trigonal prismatic clusters with diverse decoration such as pyridine, amine and cyano coordinating functional groups using pyridine carboxylate, amino carboxylate, cyano carboxylate type ligands, respectively. Afterward, the isolated highly soluble trigonal prismatic salts were reacted in the second step with another metal that can act as node or linker to connect the discrete trigonal prismatic clusters to build 2D or 3D networks. Indeed, we were able to develop another novel high-symmetry Cu cluster [Cu33-Cl)(RNH2)6Cl6] by utilizing CuCl2 salt and amine decorated trigonal prismatic cluster. Two novel 3D water stable frameworks with acs and stp topologies have been afforded.

Our work on the crystal engineering design and synthesis of new MOM platforms offer an exceptional level of control over the resulting structure including; the resulting topology, pore size, pore chemistry and thereby enable the control over the resulting physicochemical properties in a manner that facilitates the achieving of the desired properties.

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