Open metal–organic frameworks are widely regarded as promising materials for applications1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 in catalysis, separation, gas storage and molecular recognition. Compared to conventionally used microporous inorganic materials such as zeolites, these organic structures have the potential for more flexible rational design, through control of the architecture and functionalization of the pores. So far, the inability of these open frameworks to support permanent porosity and to avoid collapsing in the absence of guest molecules, such as solvents, has hindered further progress in the field14,15. Here we report the synthesis of a metal–organic framework which remains crystalline, as evidenced by X-ray single-crystal analyses, and stable when fully desolvated and when heated up to 300 °C. This synthesis is achieved by borrowing ideas from metal carboxylate cluster chemistry, where an organic dicarboxylate linker is used in a reaction that gives supertetrahedron clusters when capped with monocarboxylates. The rigid and divergent character of the added linker allows the articulation of the clusters into a three-dimensional framework resulting in a structure with higher apparent surface area and pore volume than most porous crystalline zeolites. This simple and potentially universal design strategy is currently being pursued in the synthesis of new phases and composites, and for gas-storage applications.
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We thank F. Hollander and R. Staples for X-ray structure determinations. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (M.O.K. and O.M.Y.), the Department of Energy (O.M.Y.) and Nalco Chemical Company.