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Weaving of organic threads into a crystalline covalent organic framework

Science  22 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6271, pp. 365-369
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4011

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Weaving organic threads

Woven fabrics are inherently flexible. Liu et al. created a molecular fabric analog using metal-organic frameworks (see the Perspective by Gutierrez-Puebla). Phenanthroline ligands on a copper metal complex directed the addition of organic linkers via imine bonds to create helical organic threads with woven texture. Removing the copper allowed the strands to slide against each other and increased the elasticity of the material 10-fold.

Science, this issue p. 365; see also p. 336

Abstract

A three-dimensional covalent organic framework (COF-505) constructed from helical organic threads, designed to be mutually weaving at regular intervals, has been synthesized by imine condensation reactions of aldehyde functionalized copper(I)-bisphenanthroline tetrafluoroborate, Cu(PDB)2(BF4), and benzidine (BZ). The copper centers are topologically independent of the weaving within the COF structure and serve as templates for bringing the threads into a woven pattern rather than the more commonly observed parallel arrangement. The copper(I) ions can be reversibly removed and added without loss of the COF structure, for which a tenfold increase in elasticity accompanies its demetalation. The threads in COF-505 have many degrees of freedom for enormous deviations to take place between them, throughout the material, without undoing the weaving of the overall structure.

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