Strategies for Improving the Functionality of Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks: Tailoring Nanoarchitectures for Functional Applications
Zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs), a subclass of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) built with tetrahedral metal ions and imidazolates, offer permanent porosity and high thermal and chemical stabilities. While ZIFs possess some attractive physical and chemical properties, it remains important to enhance their functionality for practical application. Here, an overview of the extensive strategies which have been developed to improve the functionality of ZIFs is provided, including linker modifications, functional hybridization of ZIFs via the encapsulation of guest species (such as metal and metal oxide nanoparticles and biomolecules) into ZIFs, and hybridization with polymeric matrices to form mixed matrix membranes for industrial gas and liquid separations. Furthermore, the developed strategies for achieving size and shape control of ZIF nanocrystals are considered, which are important for optimizing the textural characteristics as well as the functional performance of ZIFs and their derived materials/hybrids. Moreover, the recent trends of using ZIFs as templates for the derivation of nanoporous hybrid materials, including carbon/metal, carbon/oxide, carbon/sulfide, and carbon/phosphide hybrids, are discussed. Finally, some perspectives on the potential future research directions and applications for ZIFs and ZIF-derived materials are offered.