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Direct imaging of correlated defect nanodomains in a metal-organic framework

Johnstone, Duncan N.; Firth, Francesca C.N.; Grey, Clare P.; Midgley, Paul A.; Cliffe, Matthew J.; Collins, Sean M.

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Duncan N. Johnstone

Francesca C.N. Firth

Clare P. Grey

Paul A. Midgley

Sean M. Collins


Defect engineering can enhance key properties of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Tailoring the distribution of defects, for example in correlated nanodomains, requires characterization across length scales. However, a critical na-noscale characterization gap has emerged between the bulk diffraction techniques used to detect defect nanodomains and the sub-nanometer imaging used to observe individual defects. Here, we demonstrate that the emerging technique of scanning electron diffraction (SED) can bridge this gap uniquely enabling both nanoscale crystallographic analysis and the low-dose formation of multiple diffraction contrast images for defect analysis in MOFs. We directly image defect nanodomains in the MOF UiO-66(Hf) over an area of ca. 1 000 nm and with a spatial resolution ca. 5 nm to reveal domain morphology and distribution. Based on these observations, we suggest possible crystal growth processes underpinning synthetic control of defect nanodomains. We also identify likely dislocations and small angle grain boundaries, illustrating that SED could be a key technique in developing the potential for engineering the distribution of defects, or "microstructure", in functional MOF design.


Johnstone, D. N., Firth, F. C., Grey, C. P., Midgley, P. A., Cliffe, M. J., & Collins, S. M. (2020). Direct imaging of correlated defect nanodomains in a metal-organic framework. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142(30), 13081–13089.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 4, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2020
Publication Date Jul 29, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 11, 2020
Journal Journal of the American Chemical Society
Print ISSN 0002-7863
Electronic ISSN 1520-5126
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 142
Issue 30
Pages 13081–13089
Public URL
Publisher URL


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