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Robust dynamics


Although metal–organic frameworks are extensive in number and have found widespread applications, there remains a need to add complexity to their structures in a controlled manner. It is inevitable that frameworks capable of dynamics will be required. However, as in other extended structures, when they are flexible, they fail. We propose that mechanically interlocked molecules be inserted covalently into the rigid framework backbone such that they are mounted as integrated components, capable of dynamics, without compromising the fidelity of the entire system. We have coined the term 'robust dynamics' to describe constructs where the repeated dynamics of one entity does not affect the integrity of any others linked to it. The implication of this concept for dynamic molecules, whose performance has the disadvantages of random motion, is to bring them to a standstill in three-dimensional extended structures and thus significantly enhance their order, and ultimately their coherence and performance.

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Figure 1: A rare view into the construction of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs).
Figure 2: Illustrative examples of how elaborate units can be mounted onto the organic struts to introduce complexity and dynamics into MOFs.
Figure 3: The 2D and 3D merger of MIMs and MOFs to bring about robust dynamics.
Figure 4: The sorting, coverage and active domains of MOFs.


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We acknowledge the Department of Energy (BES-Separation Program), the Department of Defense (Defense Reduction Threat Agency), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under their Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (FA9550-07-1-0534), the Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation and its Focus Center Research Program, the Center on Functional Engineered Nano-Architectonics, and the NSF-MRSEC Program through the Northwestern University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center for their continued support of this research.

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Correspondence to J. Fraser Stoddart or Omar M. Yaghi.

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Deng, H., Olson, M., Stoddart, J. et al. Robust dynamics. Nature Chem 2, 439–443 (2010).

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