Sci Adv. 2022 Nov 4;8(44):eadd5503. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.add5503. Epub 2022 Nov 4.
We report a general route to decipher the apportionment of metal ions in bulk metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) by solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. We demonstrate this route in Mg1-xNix-MOF-74, where we uncover all eight possible atomic-scale Mg/Ni arrangements through identification and quantification of the distinct chemical environments of 13C-labeled carboxylates as a function of the Ni content. Here, we use magnetic susceptibility, bond pathway, and density functional theory calculations to identify local metal bonding configurations. The results refute the notion of random apportionment from solution synthesis; rather, we reveal that only two of eight Mg/Ni arrangements are preferred in the Ni-incorporated MOFs. These preferred structural arrangements manifest themselves in macroscopic adsorption phenomena as illustrated by CO/CO2 breakthrough curves. We envision that this nondestructive methodology can be further applied to analyze bulk assembly of other mixed-metal MOFs, greatly extending the knowledge on structure-property relationships of MOFs and their derived materials.