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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


Sensitive and selective detection of chemical and biological analytes is critical in various scientific and technological fields. As an emerging class of multifunctional materials, covalent organic frameworks (COFs) with their unique properties of chemical modularity, large surface area, high stability, low density, and tunable pore sizes and functionalities, which together define their programmable properties, show promise in advancing chemical detection. This review demonstrates the recent progress in chemical detection where COFs constitute an integral component of the achieved function. This review highlights how the unique properties of COFs can be harnessed to develop different types of chemical detection systems based on the principles of chromism, luminescence, electrical transduction, chromatography, spectrometry, and others to achieve highly sensitive and selective detection of various analytes, ranging from gases, volatiles, ions, to biomolecules. The key parameters of detection performance for target analytes are summarized, compared, and analyzed from the perspective of the detection mechanism and structure–property–performance correlations of COFs. Conclusions summarize the current accomplishments and analyze the challenges and limitations that exist for chemical detection under different mechanisms. Perspectives on how future directions of research can advance the COF-based chemical detection through innovation in novel COF design and synthesis, progress in device fabrication, and exploration of novel modes of detection are also discussed.

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Chemical Society Reviews


Royal Society of Chemistry

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This is an Open Access article published by Royal Society of Chemistry in Chemical Society Reviews in 2021, available online: