Electrochemically Induced Synthesis and Surface Deposition and Growth of Crystalline Metal-Organic Frameworks

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Reductive Electrosynthesis of Crystalline Metal–Organic Frameworks
Professor Mircea Dinca
Department of Chemistry, MIT
External Link (web.mit.edu)
Minyuan Li
Department of Chemistry, MIT
Managed By
Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Methods for Electrochemically Induced Cathodic Deposition of Crystalline Metal-Organic Frameworks

US Patent 8,764,887
Reductive Electrosynthesis of Crystalline Metal-Organic Frameworks
Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011, 133, 12926-12929.
Selective formation of biphasic thin films of metal– organic frameworks by potential-controlled cathodic electrodeposition†
Chemical Science, Vol. 5, pp 107-111, 2014
On the Mechanism of MOF‑5 Formation under Cathodic Bias
Chemistry of Materials, Vol. 27, pp 3203−3206, 2015
Transparent-to-Dark Electrochromic Behavior in Naphthalene-Diimide-Based Mesoporous MOF-74 Analogs
Chem, Volume 1, Issue 2, p264–272, 11 August 2016


Materials for gas storage, gas separation, drug transport, molecular separations, catalysis, or sensors.

Problem Addressed

Addresses the need to grow metal organic frameworks (MOFs) on surfaces to make continuous crack-free membranes.


The invention describes a novel approach to the growth and synthesis of MOFs that result in direct deposition of MOF crystals and crystalline films on a conductive surface. The approach involves electrochemical generation of base equivalents (such as hydroxide) by the reduction of water, oxoanions, or other reductive processes that increase the local pH near a conductive surface (electrode). The base equivalents (such as hydroxide anions) generated at the cathode deprotonate precursor ligands in the electrolyte solution, which then react with metal cations to form crystallite particles on the conductive surface.


  • Single step at room temperature, no need for solvothermal conditions
  • Fast reaction times that can be controlled by varying current density at electroactive surface
  • Flexible: can take any conductive surface and deposit MOFs composed of any metal ions and organic ligands