Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are a wide class of crystalline porous polymers studied in many fields, ranging from catalysis to gas storage. In the past few years, MOFs have been studied for the encapsulation of organic or organometallic molecules and for the development of potential drug carriers. Here, we report on the study of two structurally-related mesoporous Cu-MOFs, namely PCN-6 and PCN-6′ (PCN stands for Porous Coordination Network), for nicotine trapping. Nicotine is a well-known alkaloid liquid molecule at room temperature, whose crystalline structure is still unknown. In this work, the loading process was monitored by electron ionization mass spectrometry by using a direct insertion probe (DIP-EI/MS), infrared (IR), and ultraviolet/visible (UV/VIS) analysis. Both nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and thermogravimetric (TGA) analysis showed evidence that nicotine trapping reaches remarkable uptakes up to 40 wt %. In the case of [email protected]
, X-ray structural resolution revealed that the guest uptake is triggered by coordination of the pyridine ring of nicotine to the copper nuclei of the paddle-wheel units composing the framework of PCN-6.
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