On the completeness of three-dimensional electron diffraction data for structural analysis of metal-organic frameworks

Meng Ge, Taimin Yang, Yanzhi Wang, Francesco Carraro, Weibin Liang, Christian Doonan, Paolo Falcaro, Haoquan Zheng, Xiaodong Zou, Zhehao Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three-dimensional electron diffraction (3DED) has been proven as an effective and accurate method for structure determination of nano-sized crystals. In the past decade, the crystal structures of various new complex metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have been revealed by 3DED, which has been the key to understand their properties. However, due to the design of transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), one drawback of 3DED experiments is the limited tilt range of goniometers, which often leads to incomplete 3DED data, particularly when the crystal symmetry is low. This drawback can be overcome by high throughput data collection using continuous rotation electron diffraction (cRED), where data from a large number of crystals can be collected and merged. Here, we investigate the effects of improving completeness on structural analysis of MOFs. We use ZIF-EC1, a zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF), as an example. ZIF-EC1 crystallizes in a monoclinic system with a plate-like morphology. cRED data of ZIF-EC1 with different completeness and resolution were analyzed. The data completeness increased to 92.0% by merging ten datasets. Although the structures could be solved from individual datasets with a completeness as low as 44.5% and refined to a high precision (better than 0.04 Å), we demonstrate that a high data completeness could improve the structural model, especially on the electrostatic potential map. We further discuss the strategy adopted during data merging. We also show that ZIF-EC1 doped with cobalt can act as an efficient electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-80
Number of pages15
JournalFaraday Discussions
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • MOF
  • electron diffraction

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