Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Direct Visualization of Chemically Resolved Multilayered Domains in Mixed-Linker Metal–Organic Frameworks



Andrea Centrone, Belén Lerma-Berlanga, Adam Biacchi, Carmen Fernández Conde, Georges Pavlidis, Carlos Martí-Gastaldo


The modular synthesis approach for assembling inorganic nodes and organic multidentate linkers into reticular solids enables rational engineering in porous materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Incorporation of two or more linker types in MOF crystals is an emerging paradigm for engineering their pores to achieve complex functionalities, by virtue of chemically heterogeneous domains. However, this strategy is challenged by the insufficient spatial resolution of conventional, chemically sensitive techniques that hinders the verification of rational design. Here we leverage the high spatial resolution and chemical specificity of infrared nanoscopy in combination with high-throughput diffraction-limited hyperspectral photoluminescence imaging to determine the composition of individual crystals of linker-exchanged UiO-68 mixMOF. Contrary to previous assumptions, the MOF crystals consist of a 3-layer onion-like structure composed ofa UiO-68 core, an intermediate mixMOF layer with a gradient in linker composition and an external shell that consist mainly of hydrogen-bonded linker molecules, rather than a crystalline MOF. Since this outer layer is also found in prototypical UiO-68 MOFs and it is insoluble, we speculate that it consists of a protoMOFs which precedes the formation of the MOF crystalline phase. This study advances our analytical capabilities for studying and engineering heterogeneous domains in mixMOF individual crystals down to the nanoscale.
Advanced Functional Materials


Metal-Organic Frameworks, multivariate MOF, photothermal induced resonance (PTIR), AFM-IR, nanoscale IR spectroscopy.


Centrone, A. , Lerma-Berlanga, B. , Biacchi, A. , Fernández Conde, C. , Pavlidis, G. and Martí-Gastaldo, C. (2023), Direct Visualization of Chemically Resolved Multilayered Domains in Mixed-Linker Metal–Organic Frameworks, Advanced Functional Materials, [online],, (Accessed May 19, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created June 15, 2023, Updated October 10, 2023