© 2015 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Controlling the shape of metal-organic framework (MOF) crystals is important for understanding their crystallization and useful for myriad applications. However, despite the many advances in shaping of inorganic nanoparticles, post-synthetic shape control of MOFs and, in general, molecular crystals remains embryonic. Herein, we report using a simple wet-chemistry process at room temperature to control the anisotropic etching of colloidal ZIF-8 and ZIF-67 crystals. Our work enables uniform reshaping of these porous materials into unprecedented morphologies, including cubic and tetrahedral crystals, and even hollow boxes, by an acid-base reaction and subsequent sequestration of leached metal ions. Etching tests on these ZIFs reveal that etching occurs preferentially in the crystallographic directions richer in metal-ligand bonds; that, along these directions, the etching rate tends to be faster on the crystal surfaces of higher dimensionality; and that the etching can be modulated by adjusting the pH of the etchant solution.
- anisotropic etching
- hollow particles
- metal-organic frameworks
- zeolitic-imidazolate frameworks