American Chemical Society
am1c20432_si_003.cif (2.19 MB)

Covert MOF-Based Photoluminescent Tags via Tunable Linker Energetics

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posted on 2022-01-07, 20:34 authored by Jacob I. Deneff, Lauren E. S. Rohwer, Kimberly S. Butler, Nichole R. Valdez, Mark A. Rodriguez, Ting S. Luk, Dorina F. Sava Gallis
Optical anticounterfeiting tags utilize the photoluminescent properties of materials to encode unique patterns, enabling identification and validation of important items and assets. These tags must combine optical complexity with ease of production and authentication to both prevent counterfeiting and to remain practical for widespread use. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) based on polynuclear, rare earth clusters are ideal materials platforms for this purpose, combining fine control over structure and composition, with tunable, complex energy transfer mechanisms via both linker and metal components. Here we report the design and synthesis of a set of heterometallic MOFs based on combinations of Eu, Nd, and Yb with the tetratopic linker 1,3,6,8-tetrakis­(4-carboxyphenyl)­pyrene. The energetics of this linker facilitate the intentional concealment of the visible emissions from Eu while retaining the infrared emissions of Nd and Yb, creating an optical tag with multiple covert elements. Unique to the materials system reported herein, we document the occurrence of a previously not observed 11-metal cluster correlated with the presence of Yb in the MOFs, coexisting with a commonly encountered 9-metal cluster. We demonstrate the utility of these materials as intricate optical tags with both rapid and in-depth screening techniques, utilizing orthogonal identifiers across composition, emission spectra, and emission decay dynamics. This work highlights the important effect of linker selection in controlling the resulting photoluminescent properties in MOFs and opens an avenue for the targeted design of highly complex, multifunctional optical tags.