The polyhedral shape and fragile nature of single crystals of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) hinder their processing using standard microfabrication techniques. As a result, the fabrication of surface patterns and microelectrodes on MOF single crystals is challenging, which limits both the direct electrical interrogation of crystals in research and their integration into optical and electrical devices.
In this report, a new strategy to readily fabricate surface-embossed micropatterns and surface-embedded gold electrodes on MOF single crystals using a space-confined, one-step solvothermal synthesis is demonstrated. This method is based on the confined growth of the MOF crystal around prefabricated metal patterns with different adhesion strengths to the growth surface, producing features as small as 5 µm.
As a proof of concept, micropatterns are created on flat single crystals of the MOF HKUST-1, exhibiting the function as a diffraction grating. Additionally, a single-crystal HKUST-1 capacitive gas sensor with surface-embedded electrodes that serves as a stable platform for the investigation of ethanol diffusion in the MOF pores is fabricated.