Sub-micron Polymer-Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework Layered Hybrids via Controlled Chemical Transformation of Naked ZnO Nanocrystal Films
Here we show that sub-micron coatings of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) and even ZIF-ZIF bilayers can be grown directly on polymers of intrinsic microporosity from zinc oxide (ZnO) nanocrystal precursor films, yielding a new class of all-microporous layered hybrids. The ZnO-to-ZIF chemical transformation proceeded in less than 30 min under microwave conditions using a solution of the imidazole ligand in N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF), water, or mixtures thereof. By varying the ratio of DMF to water, it was possible to control the morphology of the ZIF-on-polymer from isolated crystallites to continuous films. Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction was used to confirm the presence of crystalline ZIF in the thin films, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy was used to quantify film purity, revealing films with little to no residual ZnO. The role solvent plays in the transformation mechanism is discussed in light of these findings, which suggest the ZnO nanocrystals may be necessary to localize heterogeneous nucleation of the ZIF to the polymer surface.