Metal-organic framework nanoparticles (MOF NPs) are promising guest-host materials with applications in separation, storage, catalysis, and drug delivery. However, on- and off-loading of guest molecules by porous MOF nanostructures are still poorly understood. Here we study uptake and release of fluorescein by two representative MOF NPs, MIL-100(Fe) and MIL-101(Cr). Suspensions of these MOF NPs exhibit well-defined size distributions and crystallinity, as verified by electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and X-ray diffraction. Using absorbance spectroscopy the equilibrium dissociation constants and maximum numbers of adsorbed fluorescein molecules per NP were determined. Time-resolved fluorescence studies reveal that rates of release and loading are pH dependent. The kinetics observed are compared to theoretical estimates that account for bulk diffusion into NPs, and retarded internal diffusion and adsorption rates. Our study shows that, rather than being simple volumetric carriers, MOF-NPs are dominated by internal surface properties. The findings will help to optimize payload levels and develop release strategies that exploit varying pH for drug delivery.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited