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Hydrogen-bonded organic frameworks (HOFs) are a class of porous materials that are held together by hydrogen bonds between organic molecules. These organic molecules, mainly including a wide variety of low molecular weight monomers (such as carboxyl dimer, pyrazolyl trimer, 2,4-diaminotriazine dimer, benzimidazolone chain, and so on.[1]), link together via multiple hydrogen bonds, leading to the formation of a well-defined network structure and resulting in a multitude of possible structures, properties and features such as high surface area, tunable pore size, structural stability, etc. And these properties make HOFs have attracted attention for their potential applications in gas storage, separation, catalysis, and other areas.

Fig.1. Hydrogen-bonding organic molecules units (inner region) employed in the construction of HOFs (outer region)Fig.1. Hydrogen-bonding organic molecules units (inner region) employed in the construction of HOFs (outer region)


HOFs present many features. Specifically, it is reflected in the following aspects.

  • HOFs are extremely flexible and could be designed to be highly porous, robust, and stable. One of the most defining features of HOFs is their ability to form diverse and highly flexible structures that are not limited to one particular shape or size. This capability is largely due to the nature of hydrogen bonds, which can be manipulated in order to form a variety of different topologies.
  • Another unique characteristic of HOFs is their ability to self-assemble. This self-assembly process can occur spontaneously or can be directed by the choice of organic molecules used in the creation of the framework. HOFs’ flexibility, combined with their inherent stability, make them ideal for use in applications where a robust framework is required.
  • These materials also exhibit potential for dynamic and responsive behavior, where changes in their environments can trigger structural adjustments. This ability of HOFs to adapt their molecular structures could be highly desirable for certain applications.


The numerous inherent benefits and features offered by HOFs naturally translate into a broad spectrum of potential applications. They are leading contenders in the area of gas storage and separation, drug delivery, catalysis, sensing and detection, energy storage, water purification and others.

  • Gas Storage and Separation: Due to their porous nature and high surface area, HOFs can be utilized for the storage and separation of gases. Their flexible and adaptable structures could enable the selective capture and release of specific gases, a feature that could be exploited for the purification and sequestration of harmful gases like carbon dioxide.
  • Drug Delivery: HOFs can serve as effective carriers for the delivery of drugs. They could be designed to encapsulate and retain a large amount of drug molecules, and to release them in a controlled manner when required.

  • Catalysis: HOFs have the ability to serve as heterogeneous catalysts in a variety of chemical reactions due to their high surface areas and adjustable pore sizes, enabling effective adsorption and activation of reactant molecules which results in increased catalytic performance and selectivity.
  • Sensing and Detection: HOFs can be functionalized with specific functional groups to selectively capture and detect target molecules, making them promising materials for sensing and detection applications. They can be used for detecting pollutants in environmental samples, biomarkers in biological fluids, and explosives in security applications.
  • Energy Storage: HOFs can be used as electrodes in supercapacitors and batteries for energy storage applications. Their high porosity and conductivity can help enhance the electrochemical performance of these devices, leading to improved energy storage capacity and cycle life.

  • Water Purification: HOFs can be used for removing contaminants from water, such as heavy metals and organic pollutants. Their high surface areas and tunable pore sizes allow for efficient adsorption and removal of impurities, making them effective materials for water purification applications.

Alfa Chemistry offers a series of HOFs materials which can well used in the fields of gas storage and separation, drug delivery, catalysis, sensing and detection, energy storage, water purification and optical materials. Our product list is available for a detailed view and we also provide customization options based on customer requirements. If you are interested in our products or have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to offer support and services to meet your needs.


  1. Lin R. B. and Chen B. Hydrogen-bonded organic frameworks: Chemistry and functions[J]. Chem, 2022, 8(8): 2114-2135.

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