Aufbau Principle of Complex Open-framework Structures of Metal Phosphates with Different Dimensionalities


Open-framework metal phosphates occur as one-dimensional (1D) chains or ladders, two-dimensional (2D) layers, and complex three-dimensional (3D) structures. Zero-dimensional monomers have also been isolated recently. These materials are traditionally prepared by hydrothermal means, in the presence of organic amines, but the reactions of amine phosphates with metal ions provide a facile route for the synthesis, and also throw some light on the mode of formation of these fascinating architectures. Careful studies of the transformations of monophasic zinc phosphates of well-characterized structures show that the 1D structures transform to 2D and 3D structures, while the 2D structures transform to 3D structures. The zero-dimensional monomers transform to 1D, 2D, and 3D structures. There is reason to believe that the 0D monomers, comprising four-membered rings, are the most basic structural units of the open-framework phosphates and that after an optimal precursor state, such as the ladder structure, is formed, further building may occur spontaneously. Evidence for the occurrence of self-assembly in the formation of complex structures is provided by the presence of the structural features of the one-dimensional starting material in the final products. These observations constitute the beginning of our understanding of the building-up principle of such complex structures.



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