Tunable Electrical Conductivity in Metal-Organic Framework Thin-Film Devices

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Science  03 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6166, pp. 66-69
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246738

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Guests for Conductors

Thin films of metal-organic framework (MOF) compounds are generally poor conductors because the linking organic groups are usually insulators with little π-orbital conjugation. Talin et al. (p. 66, published online 5 December) show that infiltrating films of the copper-based MOF HKUST-1 with the conjugated organic molecule 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinododimethane created an air-stable material with conductivities as high as 7 siemens per meter.


We report a strategy for realizing tunable electrical conductivity in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) in which the nanopores are infiltrated with redox-active, conjugated guest molecules. This approach is demonstrated using thin-film devices of the MOF Cu3(BTC)2 (also known as HKUST-1; BTC, benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxylic acid) infiltrated with the molecule 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinododimethane (TCNQ). Tunable, air-stable electrical conductivity over six orders of magnitude is achieved, with values as high as 7 siemens per meter. Spectroscopic data and first-principles modeling suggest that the conductivity arises from TCNQ guest molecules bridging the binuclear copper paddlewheels in the framework, leading to strong electronic coupling between the dimeric Cu subunits. These ohmically conducting porous MOFs could have applications in conformal electronic devices, reconfigurable electronics, and sensors.

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