The chemistry of porous frameworks (MOFs, COFs, ZIFs etc) has lived through a renaissance in recent years, sparked to a large extent by the prospect of exceptionally high surface areas, high gas storage and separation capabilities and their potential in catalysis. Meanwhile, by molding these materials into specific shapes and downsizing their dimension to the nanoscale, one will be able to boost the versatility and applicability of porous frameworks in a variety of applications requiring control of chemical composition, shape, and dimensions.
To this end, we envisage the development of a colloidal chemistry - or "nanochemistry" - of porous frameworks including MOFs, COFs, and ZIFs. Our approach is predicated on the control of nucleation and growth in the nanocrystal regime and geared towards an understanding of the concept of porosity in diminishing dimensions. Thus, we envision the development of versatile and robust methodologies based on which we will be able to judiciously tailor the size of porous framework nanocrystals, thereby further enhancing surface area and accessibility of the network to gases, liquids, or analytes in general. Ultimately, our objective is to employ soft chemistry methods (sol-gel chemistry, colloidal chemistry) as well as nanofabrication strategies (soft lithography and other patterning techniques) for the design of functional nanostructures based on porous framework materials, such as gas sensors and photonic crystals.