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  • Print publication year: 2001
  • Online publication date: December 2009

7 - The hierarchy of open-framework structures in metal phosphates and oxalates


After providing a brief description of zeolitic structures, we discuss the hierarchy of structures of open-framework metal phosphates ranging from zerodimensional monomeric units and one-dimensional linear chains to complex three-dimensional structures. Aspects related to the likely pathways involved in the assemblage of these fascinating structures are examined, pointing out how the formation of the complex three-dimensional structures of open-framework metal phosphates involves the transformation and assembly of smaller units. Besides the role of the four-membered monomer, the amine phosphate route to the formation of the three-dimensional structures is discussed. The last step in the formation of these structures from preformed units of the desired structure is likely to be spontaneous. Our recent studies of open-framework metal oxalates have shown the presence of a hierarchy of structures. Reactions of amine oxalates with metal ions yield members of the oxalate family with differing complexity.


Zeolites and related aluminosilicates constitute a vital family of microporous materials with immense applications in catalysis, sorption and separation processes [1–3]. The discovery of aluminophosphates is an important landmark in the science of these materials [4]. All these materials are, in general, synthesized under hydrothermal conditions by making use of template molecules [2]. The template molecules are usually organic amines and they are involved in the formation of these framework structures in more ways than one.