Luminescent metal-organic frameworks (LMOFs) are a sub-class of metal organic framework materials that possess interesting and useful optical emission properties, making them both fundamentally important and technologically relevant for practical applications. LMOFs are particularly attractive for possible use as highly selective, sensitive, and fast-responding solid state sensory materials. We have carried out a systematic study to investigate luminescence based sensing performance of LMOFs for a variety of different analyte molecules in the vapor phase, including high explosives. Zn2(bpdc)2(bpee) exhibits very fast response and high sensitivity towards nitroaro¬matic explosives such as DNT, and plastic explosive taggant, DMNB. Our experimental work demonstrate that there is a strong correlation between the porosity, chemical composition, electronic properties and sensing behavior. These studies, coupled with theoretical calculations and simulations, have provided helpful explanations on the analyte-LMOF interactions and sensing mechanisms in these systems.
The patent which resulted from this work was selected by C&EN News in its “Patent Picks” session on June 30, 2014 (Vol. 92, Issue 26)