This paper identifies the electrochemical properties of individual facets of anisotropic layered conductive metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) based on M3(2,3,6,7,10,11-hexahydroxytriphenylene)2 (M3(HHTP)2) (M = Co, Ni). The electroanalytical advantages of each facet are then applied toward the electrochemical detection of neurochemicals. By employing epitaxially controlled deposition of M3(HHTP)2 MOFs on electrodes, the contribution of the basal plane ({001} facets) and edge sites ({100} facets) of these MOFs can be individually determined using electrochemical characterization techniques. Despite having a lower observed heterogeneous electron transfer rate constant, the {001} facets of the M3(HHTP)2 systems prove more selective and sensitive for the detection of dopamine than the {100} facets of the same MOF, with the limit of detection (LOD) of 9.9 ± 2 nM in phosphate-buffered saline and 214 ± 48 nM in a simulated cerebrospinal fluid. Langmuir isotherm studies accompanied by all-atom MD simulations suggested that the observed improvement in performance and selectivity is related to the adsorption characteristics of analytes on the basal plane versus edge sites of the MOF interfaces. This work establishes that the distinct crystallographic facets of 2D MOFs can be used to control the fundamental interactions between analyte and electrode, leading to tunable electrochemical properties by controlling their preferential orientation through self-assembly.

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ACS Nano


ACS Publications

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Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society


This is an Open Access article published by ACS Publications in ACS Nano in 2022, available online: