Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 18;14(1):286. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-35970-x.
Controllable fabrication of angstrom-size channels has been long desired to mimic biological ion channels for the fundamental study of ion transport. Here we report a strategy for fabricating angstrom-scale ion channels with one-dimensional (1D) to three-dimensional (3D) pore structures by the growth of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) into nanochannels. The 1D MIL-53 channels of flexible pore sizes around 5.2 × 8.9 Å can transport cations rapidly, with one to two orders of magnitude higher conductivities and mobilities than MOF channels of hybrid pore configurations and sizes, including Al-TCPP with 1D ~8 Å channels connected by 2D ~6 Å interlayers, and 3D UiO-66 channels of ~6 Å windows and 9 – 12 Å cavities. Furthermore, the 3D MOF channels exhibit better ion sieving properties than those of 1D and 2D MOF channels. Theoretical simulations reveal that ion transport through 2D and 3D MOF channels should undergo multiple dehydration-rehydration processes, resulting in higher energy barriers than pure 1D channels. These findings offer a platform for studying ion transport properties at angstrom-scale confinement and provide guidelines for improving the efficiency of ionic separations and nanofluidics.