A.E.J. Hoffman

Towards modeling spatiotemporal processes in metal–organic frameworks

V. Van Speybroeck, S. Vandenhaute, A.E.J. Hoffman, S.M.J. Rogge
Trends in Chemistry
3 (8): 605-619
2021
A1

Abstract 

Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are hybrid materials constructed from metal clusters linked by organic linkers, which can be engineered for target functional applications in, for example, catalysis, sensing, and storage. The dynamic response of MOFs on external stimuli can be tuned by spatial heterogeneities such as defects and crystal size as well as by operating conditions such as temperature, pressure, moisture, and external fields. Modeling the spatiotemporal evolution of MOFs under operating conditions and at length and time scales comparable with experimental observations is extremely challenging. Herein, we give a status on the modeling of spatiotemporal processes in MOFs under working conditions and reflect on how modeling can be reconciled with in situ spectroscopy measurements.

Gold Open Access

Identification of vanadium dopant sites in the metal–organic framework DUT-5(Al)

K. Maes, L.I.D.J. Martin, S. Khelifi, A.E.J. Hoffman, K. Leus, P. Van der Voort, E. Goovaerts, P.F. Smet, V. Van Speybroeck, F. Callens, H. Vrielinck
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (PCCP)
23, 7088-7100
2021
A1

Abstract 

Studying the structural environment of the VIV ions doped in the metal–organic framework (MOF) DUT-5(Al) ((AlIIIOH)BPDC) with electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) reveals four different vanadium-related spectral components. The spin-Hamiltonian parameters are derived by analysis of X-, Q- and W-band powder EPR spectra. Complementary Q-band Electron Nuclear DOuble Resonance (ENDOR) experiments, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) measurements are performed to investigate the origin of these spectral components. Two spectral components with well resolved 51V hyperfine structure are visible, one corresponding to VIV=O substitution in a large (or open) pore and one to a narrow (or closed) pore variant of this MOF. Furthermore, a broad structureless Lorentzian line assigned to interacting vanadyl centers in each other's close neighborhood grows with increasing V-concentration. The last spectral component is best visible at low V-concentrations. We tentatively attribute it to (VIV=O)2+ linked with DMF or dimethylamine in the pores of the MOF. Simulations using these four spectral components convincingly reproduce the experimental spectra and allow to estimate the contribution of each vanadyl species as a function of V-concentration.

Theoretical and Spectroscopic Evidence of the Dynamic Nature of Copper Active Sites in Cu-CHA Catalysts under Selective Catalytic Reduction (NH3–SCR–NOx) Conditions

R. Millan, P. Cnudde, A.E.J. Hoffman, C.W. Lopes, P. Concepcion, V. Van Speybroeck, M. Boronat
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
11, 23, 10060-10066
2020
A1

Abstract 

The dynamic nature of the copper cations acting as active sites for selective catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxides with ammonia is investigated using a combined theoretical and spectroscopic approach. Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of Cu-CHA catalysts in contact with reactants and intermediates at realistic operating conditions show that only ammonia is able to release Cu+ and Cu2+ cations from their positions coordinated to the zeolite framework, forming mobile Cu+(NH3)2 and Cu2+(NH3)4 complexes that migrate to the center of the cavity. Herein, we give evidence that such mobilization of copper cations modifies the vibrational fingerprint in the 800–1000 cm–1 region of the IR spectra. Bands associated with the lattice asymmetric T-O-T vibrations are perturbed by the presence of coordinated cations, and allow one to experimentally follow the dynamic reorganization of the active sites at operating conditions.

Insight into the effects of confined hydrocarbon species on the lifetime of methanol conversion catalysts

I. Lezcano-Gonzalez, E. Campbell, A.E.J. Hoffman, M. Bocus, I.V. Sazanovich, M. Towrie, M. Agote-Aran, E.K. Gibson, A. Greenaway, K. De Wispelaere, V. Van Speybroeck, A.M. Beale
Nature Materials
19, 1081–1087
2020
A1

Abstract 

The methanol-to-hydrocarbons reaction refers collectively to a series of important industrial catalytic processes to produce either olefins or gasoline. Mechanistically, methanol conversion proceeds through a ‘pool’ of hydrocarbon species. For the methanol-to-olefins process, these species can be delineated broadly into ‘desired’ lighter olefins and ‘undesired’ heavier fractions that cause deactivation in a matter of hours. The crux in further catalyst optimization is the ability to follow the formation of carbonaceous species during operation. Here, we report the combined results of an operando Kerr-gated Raman spectroscopic study with state-of-the-art operando molecular simulations, which allowed us to follow the formation of hydrocarbon species at various stages of methanol conversion. Polyenes are identified as crucial intermediates towards formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, with their fate determined largely by the zeolite topology. Notably, we provide the missing link between active and deactivating species, which allows us to propose potential design rules for future-generation catalysts.

Atomistic insight in the flexibility and heat transport properties of the stimuli-responsive metal-organic framework MIL-53(Al) for water-adsorption applications using molecular simulations

A. Lamaire, J. Wieme, A.E.J. Hoffman, V. Van Speybroeck
Faraday Discussions
225, 301-323
2021
A1

Abstract 

To exploit the full potential of metal-organic frameworks as solid adsorbents in water-adsorption applications, many challenges remain to be solved. A more fundamental insight into the properties of the host material and the influence water exerts on them can be obtained by performing molecular simulations. In this work, the prototypical flexible MIL-53(Al) framework is modelled using advanced molecular dynamics simulations. For different water loadings, the presence of water is shown to affect the relative stability of MIL-53(Al), triggering a phase transition from the narrow-pore to the large-pore phase at the highest considered loading. Furthermore, the effect of confinement on the structural organisation of the water molecules is also examined for different pore volumes of MIL-53(Al). For the framework itself, we focus on the thermal conductivity, as this property plays a decisive role in the efficiency of adsorption-based technologies, due to the energy-intensive adsorption and desorption cycles. To this end, the heat transfer characteristics of both phases of MIL-53(Al) are studied, demonstrating a strong directional dependence for the thermal conductivity.

Gold Open Access

Engineering a highly defective stable UiO-66 with tunable Lewis-Brønsted acidity - The role of the hemilabile linker

X. Feng, J. Hajek, H. S. Jena, G. Wang, S. K. P. Veerapandian, R. Morent, N. De Geyter, K. Leyssens, A.E.J. Hoffman, V. Meynen, C. Marquez, D. De Vos, V. Van Speybroeck, K. Leus, P. Van der Voort
JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society)
142 (6), 3174-3183
2020
A1

Abstract 

The stability of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) typically decreases with an increasing number of defects, limiting the number of defects that can be created and limiting catalytic and other applications. Herein, we use a hemilabile (Hl) linker to create up to maximum 6 defects per cluster in UiO-66. We have synthesized hemilabile UiO-66 (Hl-UiO-66) using benzene dicarboxylate (BDC) as linker and 4-sulfonatobenzoate (PSBA) as the hemilabile linker. The PSBA acts not only as a modulator to create defects, but also as a co-ligand that enhances the stability of the resulting defective framework. Furthermore, upon a post-synthetic treatment in H2SO4, the average number of defects increases to the optimum of six missing BDC linkers per cluster (3 per formula unit), leaving the Zr-nodes on average 6-fold coordinated. Remarkably, the thermal stability of the materials further increases upon this treatment. Periodic density functional theory calculations confirm that the hemilabile ligands strengthen this highly defective structure by several stabilizing interactions. Finally, the catalytic activity of the obtained materials is evaluated in the acid-catalyzed isomerization of α-pinene oxide. This reaction is particularly sensitive to the Brønsted or Lewis acid sites in the catalyst. In comparison to the pristine UiO-66, which mainly possesses Brønsted acid sites, the Hl-UiO-66 and the post-synthetically treated Hl-UiO-66 structures exhibited a higher Lewis acidity and an enhanced activity and selectivity. This is further explored by CD3CN spectroscopic sorption experiments. We have shown that by tuning the number of defects in UiO-66 using PSBA as the hemilabile linker, one can achieve highly defective and stable MOFs and easily control the Brønsted to Lewis acid ratio in the materials, and thus their catalytic activity and selectivity.

A Supramolecular View on the Cooperative Role of Brønsted andLewis Acid Sites in Zeolites for Methanol Conversion

S. Bailleul, I. Yarulina, A.E.J. Hoffman, A. Dokania, E. Abou-Hamad, A. Dutta Chowdhury, G. Pieters, J. Hajek, K. De Wispelaere, M. Waroquier, J. Gascon, V. Van Speybroeck
JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society)
141 (37), 14823-14842
2019
A1

Abstract 

A systematic molecular level and spectroscopic investigation is presented to show the cooperative role of Brønsted acid and Lewis acid sites in zeolites for the conversion of methanol. Extra-framework alkaline-earth metal containing species and aluminum species decrease the number of Brønsted acid sites, as protonated metal clusters are formed. A combined experimental and theoretical effort shows that postsynthetically modified ZSM-5 zeolites, by incorporation of extra-framework alkaline-earth metals or by demetalation with dealuminating agents, contain both mononuclear [MOH]+ and double protonated binuclear metal clusters [M(μ-OH)2M]2+ (M = Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, and HOAl). The metal in the extra-framework clusters has a Lewis acid character, which is confirmed experimentally and theoretically by IR spectra of adsorbed pyridine. The strength of the Lewis acid sites (Mg > Ca > Sr > Ba) was characterized by a blue shift of characteristic IR peaks, thus offering a tool to sample Lewis acidity experimentally. The incorporation of extra-framework Lewis acid sites has a substantial influence on the reactivity of propene and benzene methylations. Alkaline-earth Lewis acid sites yield increased benzene methylation barriers and destabilization of typical aromatic intermediates, whereas propene methylation routes are less affected. The effect on the catalytic function is especially induced by the double protonated binuclear species. Overall, the extra-framework metal clusters have a dual effect on the catalytic function. By reducing the number of Brønsted acid sites and suppressing typical catalytic reactions in which aromatics are involved, an optimal propene selectivity and increased lifetime for methanol conversion over zeolites is obtained. The combined experimental and theoretical approach gives a unique insight into the nature of the supramolecular zeolite catalyst for methanol conversion which can be meticulously tuned by subtle interplay of Brønsted and Lewis acid sites.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

The impact of lattice vibrations on the macroscopic breathing behavior of MIL-53(Al)

A.E.J. Hoffman, J. Wieme, S.M.J. Rogge, L. Vanduyfhuys, V. Van Speybroeck
Zeitschrift für Kristallographie - Crystalline Materials
234 (7-8), 529-545
2019
A1

Abstract 

The mechanism inducing the breathing in flexible metal-organic frameworks, such as MIL-53(Al), is still not fully understood. Herein, the influence of lattice vibrations on the breathing transition in MIL-53(Al) is investigated to gain insight in this phenomenon. Through solid-state density-functional theory calculations, the volume-dependent IR spectrum is computed together with the volume-frequency relations of all vibrational modes. Furthermore, important thermodynamic properties such as the Helmholtz free energy, the specific heat capacity, the bulk modulus, and the volumetric thermal expansion coefficient are derived via these volume-frequency relations using the quasi-harmonic approximation. The simulations expose a general volume-dependency of the vibrations with wavenumbers above 300 cm−1 due to their localized nature. In contrast, a diverse set of volume-frequency relations are observed for vibrations in the terahertz region (< 300 cm−1) containing the vibrations exhibiting collective behavior. Some terahertz vibrations display large frequency differences over the computed volume range, induced by either repulsion or strain effects, potentially triggering the phase transformation. Finally, the impact of the lattice vibrations on the thermodynamic properties is investigated. This reveals that the closed pore to large pore phase transformation in MIL-53(Al) is mainly facilitated by terahertz vibrations inducing rotations of the organic linker, while the large pore to closed pore phase transformation relies on two framework-specific soft modes.

Gold Open Access

Elucidating the Vibrational Fingerprint of the Flexible Metal-Organic Framework MIL-53(Al) Using a Combined Experimental/Computational Approach

A.E.J. Hoffman, L. Vanduyfhuys, I. Nevjestic, J. Wieme, S.M.J. Rogge, H. Depauw, P. Van der Voort, H. Vrielinck, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Physical Chemistry C
122, 5, 2734-2746
2018
A1

Abstract 

In this work mid-infrared (mid-IR), far-IR, and Raman spectra are presented for the distinct (meta)stable phases of the flexible metal-organic framework MIL-53(Al). Static density functional theory (DFT) simulations are performed allowing for the identification of all IR active modes, which is unprecedented in the low-frequency region. A unique vibrational fingerprint is revealed, resulting from aluminum-oxide backbone stretching modes, which can be used to clearly distinguish the IR spectra of the closed- and large-pore phases. Furthermore, molecular dynamics simulations based on a DFT description of the potential energy surface enable to determine the theoretical Raman spectrum of the closed- and large-pore phases for the first time. An excellent correspondence between theory and experiment is observed. Both the low-frequency IR and Raman spectra show major differences in vibrational modes between the closed- and large-pore phases indicating changes in lattice dynamics between the two structures. In addition, several collective modes related to the breathing mechanism in MIL-53(Al) are identified. In particular, we rationalize the importance of the trampoline-like motion of the linker for the phase transition.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

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