Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) have unique properties that make them excellent candidates for many high-tech applications. Nevertheless, their nonconducting character is an obstacle to their practical utilization in electronic and energy systems. Using the familiar HKUST-1 MOF as a model, we present a new method of imparting electrical conductivity to otherwise nonconducting MOFs by preparing MOF nanoparticles within the conducting matrix of mesoporous activated carbon (AC). This composite material was studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), gas adsorption measurements, and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. We show that MOF nanoparticles grown within the carbon matrix maintain their crystalline characteristics and their surface area. Surprisingly, as a result of the composition process, EPR measurements revealed a copper signal that had not yet been achieved. For the first time, we could analyze the complex EPR response of HKUST-1. We demonstrate the high conductivity of the MOF composite and discuss various factors that are responsible for these results. Finally, we present an optional application for using the conductive MOF composite as a high-performance electrode for pseudocapacitors.
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© 2016 American Chemical Society.