Surface Modification and Functionalization of Nanoscale Metal-Organic Frameworks for Controlled Release and Luminescence Sensing

We describe in this paper a general method for synthesizing a new class of nanocomposites with a nanoscale metal-organic framework (NMOF) core and a silica shell. Silica shells of variable thickness were deposited on the NMOFs that had been surface-modified with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) using a sol−gel procedure. The NMOF core of the nanocomposite could be completely removed (via dissolution) at low pH to afford hollow silica shells with varied thickness and aspect ratios. We also showed that the silica shell of such nanocomposites significantly stabilized the NMOF core against dissolution, thus demonstrating the ability to control the release of metal constituents from such silica-coated NMOFs. The silica shell was further functionalized with a silylated Tb-EDTA monoamide derivative for the luminescence sensing of dipicolinic acid (DPA), which is a major constituent of many pathogenic spore-forming bacteria. Owing to the tunability of NMOF composition and morphology, the present approach should allow for the synthesis of not only interesting nanoshells that are not accessible with presently available templates but also novel core−shell hybrid nanostructures for future imaging, sensing, and drug delivery applications.