Understanding Intrinsic Light Absorption Properties of UiO- 66 Frameworks: A Combined Theoretical and Experimental Study

K. Hendrickx, D.E.P. Vanpoucke, K. Leus, K. Lejaeghere, A. Van Yperen-De Deyne, V. Van Speybroeck, P. Van der Voort, K. Hemelsoet
Inorganic Chemistry
54, 22, 10701-10710


A combined theoretical and experimental study is performed in order to elucidate the effects of linker functional groups on the photoabsorption properties of UiO-66-type materials. This study, in which both mono- and di-functionalized linkers (with X= -OH, -NH2, -SH) are studied, aims to obtain a more complete picture on the choice of functionalization. Static Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory (TD-DFT) calculations combined with Molecular Dynamics simulations are performed on the linkers and compared to experimental UV/VIS spectra, in order to understand the electronic effects governing the absorption spectra. Di-substituted linkers show larger shifts compared to mono-substituted variants, making them promising candidates for further study as photocatalysts. Next, the interaction between the linker and the inorganic part of the framework is theoretically investigated using a cluster model. The proposed Ligand-to-Metal-Charge Transfer (LMCT) is theoretically observed and is influenced by the differences in functionalization. Finally, computed electronic properties of the periodic UiO-66 materials reveal that the band gap can be altered by linker functionalization and ranges from 4.0 down to 2.2 eV. Study of the periodic Density of States (DOS) allows to explain the band gap modulations of the framework in terms of a functionalization-induced band in the band gap of the original UiO-66 host.