Evidence for a chemical clock in oscillatory formation of UiO-66

Maarten Goesten*, M. F. De Lange, A. I. Olivos-Suarez, A. V. Bavykina, P. Serra-Crespo, C. Krywka, F. M. Bickelhaupt, F. Kapteijn, Jorge Gascon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Chemical clocks are often used as exciting classroom experiments, where an induction time is followed by rapidly changing colours that expose oscillating concentration patterns. This type of reaction belongs to a class of nonlinear chemical kinetics also linked to chaos, wave propagation and Turing patterns. Despite its vastness in occurrence and applicability, the clock reaction is only well understood for liquid-state processes. Here we report a chemical clock reaction, in which a solidifying entity, metal-organic framework UiO-66, displays oscillations in crystal dimension and number, as shown by X-ray scattering. In rationalizing this result, we introduce a computational approach, the metal-organic molecular orbital methodology, to pinpoint interaction between the tectonic building blocks that construct the metal-organic framework material. In this way, we show that hydrochloric acid plays the role of autocatalyst, bridging separate processes of condensation and crystallization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11832
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - Jun 10 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr Lin Yang from X9, NSLS, for his support during the SAXS/WAXS measurements. Our acknowledgements go further out to two reviewers, who contributed to the final version of the manuscript. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement no. 335746, CrystEng-MOF-MMM.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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