The applications and potentials of thin film coatings of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) supported on various substrates are discussed in this critical review. Because the demand for fabricating such porous coatings is rather obvious, in the past years several synthesis schemes have been developed for the preparation of thin porous MOF films. Interestingly, although this is an emerging field seeing a rapid development a number of different applications on MOF films were either already demonstrated or have been proposed. This review focuses on the fabrication of continuous, thin porous films, either supported on solid substrates or as free-standing membranes. The availability of such two-dimensional types of porous coatings opened the door for a number of new perspectives for functionalizing surfaces. Also for the porous materials themselves, the availability of a solid support to which the MOF-films are rigidly (in a mechanical sense) anchored provides access to applications not available for the typical MOF powders with particle sizes of a few μm. We will also address some of the potential and applications of thin films in different fields like luminescence, QCM-based sensors, optoelectronics, gas separation and catalysis. A separate chapter has been devoted to the delamination of MOF thin films and discusses the potential to use them as free-standing membranes or as nano-containers. The review also demonstrates the possibility of using MOF thin films as model systems for detailed studies on MOF-related phenomena, e.g. adsorption and diffusion of small molecules into MOFs as well as the formation mechanism of MOFs (101 references).
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