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Mandemaker, LDB., Rivera-Torrente, M., Delen, G., Hofmann, JP., Lorenz, M., Belianinov, A., Weckhuysen, BM.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a promising class of materials for many applications, due to their high chemical tunability and superb porosity. By growing MOFs as (thin-)films, additional properties and potential applications become available. Here, copper (II) 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylate (Cu-BTC) metal-organic framework (MOF) thin-films are reported, which were synthesized by spin-coating, resulting in "nanowebs", that is, fiber-like structures. These surface-mounted MOFs (SURMOFs) were studied by using photoinduced force microscopy (PiFM) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). The optimal concentration of precursors (10 mm) was determined that resulted in chemically homogeneous, pure nanowebs. Furthermore, the morphology and (un)coordinated Cu sites in the web were tuned by varying the rotation speed of the spin-coating process. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis showed that rotation speeds ≥2000 rpm (with precursors in a water/ethanol solution) generate the catena-triaqua-μ-(1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylate)-copper(II), or Cu(BTC)(H2 O)3 coordination polymer. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) highlighted the strong decrease in number of (defective) Cu+ sites, as the nanowebs mainly consist of coordinated Cu2+ Lewis acid sites (LAS) and organic linker-linker, for example, hydrogen-bonding, interactions. Finally, the Lewis-acidic character of the Cu sites is illustrated by testing the films as catalysts in the isomerization of α-pinene oxide. The higher number of LAS (≥3000 rpm), result in higher campholenic aldehyde selectivity reaching up to 87.7 %. Furthermore, the strength of a combined micro- and spectroscopic approach in understanding the nature of MOF thin-films in a spatially resolved manner is highlighted.