D. De Vos

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.

Active Role of Methanol in Post-Synthetic Linker Exchange in the Metal-Organic Framework UiO-66

J. Marreiros, C. Caratelli, J. Hajek, A. Krajnc, G. Fleury, B. Bueken, D. De Vos, G. Mali, M. Roeffaers, V. Van Speybroeck, R. Ameloot
Chemistry of Materials
31 (4), 1359-1369
2019
A1

Abstract 

UiO-66 is known as one of the most robust metal-organic framework materials. Nevertheless, UiO-66 has also been shown to undergo post-synthetic exchange of structural linkers with surprising ease in some sol-vents. To date the exchange mechanism has not yet been fully elucidated. Here, we show how time-resolved monitoring grants insight into the selected case of exchanging 2-aminoterephthalic acid into UiO-66 in methanol. Analysis of both the solid and liquid phase, complemented by computational insights, revealed the active role of methanol in the creation and stabilization of metastable states in which dangling linkers are similar to monocarboxylate defects that can be introduced during UiO-66 synthesis, such dangling link-ers undergo fast exchange. The presence of missing linker or missing cluster defects at the start of the ex-change process was shown to have no considerable impact on the equilibrium composition. After the ex-change process, the incoming 2-aminoterephthalate and remaining terephthalate linkers were distributed homogeneously in the framework for the typical small crystal size of UiO-66 (≈500nm).

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Green Open Access

The remarkable amphoteric nature of defective UiO-66 in catalytic reactions

J. Hajek, B. Bueken, M. Waroquier, D. De Vos, V. Van Speybroeck
ChemCatChem
9 (12), 2203-2210
2017
A1

Abstract 

One of the major requirements in solid acids and bases catalyzed reactions is that the reactants, intermediates or activated complexes cooperate with several functions of catalyst support. In this work the remarkable bifunctional behavior of the defective UiO-66(Zr) metal organic framework is shown for acid-base pair catalysis. The active site relies on the presence of undercoordinated zirconium sites, which may be tuned by removing framework linkers and by removal of water from the inorganic bricks using a dehydration treatment. To elucidate the amphoteric nature of defective UiO-66, the Oppenauer oxidation of primary alcohols has been theoretically investigated using density functional theory (DFT) and the periodic approach. The presence of acid and basic centers within molecular distances has been shown crucial for determining the catalytic activity of the material. Hydrated and dehydrated bricks have a distinct influence on modulation of the acidity and basicity of the active sites. In any case both functions need to cooperate in a concerted way to enable the chemical transformation.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Towards metal–organic framework based field effect chemical sensors: UiO-66-NH2 for nerve agent detection

L. Stassen, B. Bueken, H. Reinsch, J.F.M. Oudenhoven, D. Wouters, J. Hajek, V. Van Speybroeck, N. Stock, P.M. Vereecken, R. Van Schajik, D. De Vos, R. Ameloot
Chemical Science
7, 5827-5832
2016
A1

Abstract 

We present a highly sensitive gas detection approach for the infamous ‘nerve agent’ group of alkyl phosphonate compounds. Signal transduction is achieved by monitoring the work function shift of metal–organic framework UiO-66-NH2 coated electrodes upon exposure to ppb-level concentrations of a target simulant. Using the Kelvin probe technique, we demonstrate the potential of electrically insulating MOFs for integration in field effect devices such as ChemFETs: a three orders of magnitude improvement over previous work function-based detection of nerve agent simulants. Moreover, the signal is fully reversible both in dry and humid conditions, down to low ppb concentrations. Comprehensive investigation of the interactions that lead towards this high sensitivity points towards a series of confined interactions between the analyte and the pore interior of UiO-66-NH2.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

A breathing zirconium metal-organic framework with reversible loss of crystallinity by correlated nanodomain formation

B. Bueken, F. Vermoortele, M.J. Cliffe, M.T. Wharmby, D. Foucher, J. Wieme, L. Vanduyfhuys, C. Martineau, N. Stock, F. Taulelle, V. Van Speybroeck, A.L. Goodwin, D. De Vos
Chemistry - A European Journal
2016, 22, 1-5
2016
A1

Abstract 

The isoreticular analogue of the metal–organic framework UiO-66(Zr), synthesized with the flexible trans-1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid as linker, shows a peculiar breathing behavior by reversibly losing long-range crystalline order upon evacuation. The underlying flexibility is attributed to a concerted conformational contraction of up to two thirds of the linkers, which breaks the local lattice symmetry. X-ray scattering data are described well by a nanodomain model in which differently oriented tetragonal-type distortions propagate over about 7–10 unit cells.

A Flexible Photoactive Titanium Metal-Organic Framework Based on a [Ti-3(IV)(mu(3)-O)(O)(2)(COO)(6)] Cluster

B. Bueken, F. Vermoortele, D.E.P. Vanpoucke, H. Reinsch, C. Tsou, P. Valvekens, T. De Baerdemaeker, R. Ameloot, C. Kirschhock, V. Van Speybroeck, J. Mayer, D. De Vos
Angewandte Chemie int. Ed.
127, 14118 –14123
2015
A1

Abstract 

The synthesis of titanium-carboxylate metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) is hampered by the high reactivity of the commonly employed alkoxide precursors. Herein, we present an innovative approach to titanium-based MOFs by the use of titanocene dichloride to synthesize COK-69, the first breathing Ti MOF, which is built up from trans-1,4-cyclo-hexanedicarboxylate linkers and an unprecedented [Ti-3(IV)(mu(3)-O)(O)(2)(COO)(6)] cluster. The photoactive properties of COK-69 were investigated in depth by proton-coupled electron-transfer experiments, which revealed that up to one Ti-IV center per cluster can be photoreduced to Ti-III while preserving the structural integrity of the framework. The electronic structure of COK-69 was determined by molecular modeling, and a band gap of 3.77 eV was found.

Mechanistic studies of aldol condensations in UiO-66 and UiO-66-NH2 metal organic frameworks

J. Hajek, M. Vandichel, B. Van de Voorde, B. Bueken, D. De Vos, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Catalysis
331, 1-12
2015
A1

Abstract 

A full mechanistic investigation is proposed for the industrially important cross-aldol condensation reaction of heptanal with benzaldehyde on the UiO-66 and the amino-functionalized UiO-66-NH2 metal–organic frameworks to form jasminaldehyde. Several experimental studies indicate that the activity for the aldol condensation reaction can be increased by proper functionalization of the material, e.g. by introducing an additional basic amino site and thus creating a bifunctional acid–base catalyst for the aldol condensation. The precise molecular level origin for this behavior is to date unclear. Herein state-of-the-art Density-Functional Theory (DFT) calculations have been performed to unravel the mechanism of the cross- and self-aldol condensations of benzaldehyde and propanal. To this end free energy calculations have been performed on both extended cluster and periodic models. It is found that the mechanism on both catalysts is essentially the same, although a slightly stronger adsorption of the reactants and slightly lower barriers were found on the amino functionalized material, pointing toward higher initial activities. New experiments were performed to confirm these observations. It is indeed found that the initial activity toward cross-aldol condensation on the amino functionalized material is higher, although after about 40 min of reaction both materials become equally active. Our results furthermore point out that the basic amino groups may promote side reactions such as imine formation, which is induced by water. The study as presented can assist to engineer materials at the molecular level toward the desired products.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Active site engineering in UiO-66 type metal-organic frameworks by intentional creation of defects: a theoretical rationalization

M. Vandichel, J. Hajek, F. Vermoortele, D. De Vos, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
CrystEngComm
17 (2), 395-406
2015
A1

Abstract 

The catalytic activity of the Zr-benzenedicarboxylate (Zr-BDC) UiO-66 can be drastically increased in the absence of part of the linkers, as it removes the full coordination of the framework metal ions and leads to open sites. As a result, metal centers become more accessible and thus more active for Lewis acid catalysed reactions. Addition of modulators (MDL) to the synthesis mixture can create more linker deficiencies (Vermoortele et al., J Am Chem Soc, 2013, 135, 11465) and can lead to a significant increase of the catalytic activity due to the creation of a larger number of open sites. In this paper, we rationalize the function of the modulators under real synthesis conditions by the construction of free energy diagrams. The UiO-66 type materials form a very appropriate test case as the effect of addition of modulators hydrochloric acid (HCl) and trifluoroacetate (TFA) has been intensively investigated experimentally for the synthesis process and post-synthetic thermal activation. In synthesis conditions, direct removal of BDC linkers requires a high free energy but replacement of such linker by one or more TFA species might occur especially at high TFA:BDC ratios in the reaction mixture. The presence of HCl furthermore enhances the creation of defect structures. Post-synthesis activation procedures at higher temperatures lead to a substantial removal of the species coordinated to the Zr bricks creating open metal sites. A mechanistic pathway is presented for the dehydroxylation process of the hexanuclear Zr cluster. For the citronellal cyclization, we show that the presence of some residual TFA in the structure may lead to faster reactions in complete agreement with experiment. Hirshfeld-e partial charges for the Zr ions have been computed to investigate their sensitivity to substituent effects; a strong correlation with the experimental Hammett parameters, and with the rates of the citronellal cyclization is found. The theoretical rationalization may serve as a basis for detailed active site engineering studies.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Active site engineering in UiO-66 type Metal Organic Frameworks by intentional creation of defects : A theoretical rationalization

M. Vandichel, J. Hajek, F. Vermoortele, M. Waroquier, D. De Vos, V. Van Speybroeck
CrystEngComm
First published online 15 Sep 2014
2014
A1
Published while none of the authors were employed at the CMM

Abstract 

The catalytic activity of the Zr-benzenedicarboxylate (Zr-BDC) UiO-66 can be drastically increased in the absence of part of the linkers, as it removes the full coordination of the framework metal ions and leads to open sites. As a result, metal centers become more accessible and thus more active for Lewis acid catalysed reactions. Addition of modulators (MDL) to the synthesis mixture can create more linker deficiencies (Vermoortele et al., J Am Chem Soc, 2013, 135, 11465) and can lead to a significant increase of the catalytic activity due to the creation of a larger number of open sites. In this paper, we rationalize the function of the modulators under real synthesis conditions by the construction of free energy diagrams. The UiO-66 type materials form a very appropriate test case as the effect of addition of modulators HCl and trifluoroacetate (TFA) has been intensively investigated experimentally for the synthesis process and post-synthetic thermal activation. In synthesis conditions, direct removal of BDC linkers requires a high free energy but replacement of such linker by one or more TFA species might occur especially at high TFA:BDC ratios in the reaction mixture. The presence of HCl furthermore enhances the creation of defect structures. Post-synthesis activation procedures at higher temperatures lead to a substantial removal of the species coordinated to the Zr bricks creating open metal sites. A mechanistic pathway is presented for the dehydroxylation process of the hexanuclear Zr cluster. For the citronellal cyclization, we show that the presence of some residual TFA in the structure may lead to faster reactions in complete agreement with experiment. Hirshfeld-e partial charges for the Zr ions have been computed to investigate their sensitivity to substituent effects; a strong correlation with the experimental Hammett parameters, and with the rates of the citronellal cyclization is found. The theoretical rationalization may serve as a basis for detailed active site engineering studies.

Base catalytic activity of alkaline earth MOFs: a (micro)spectroscopic study of active site formation by the controlled transformation of structural anions

P. Valvekens, D. Jonckheere, T. De Baerdemaeker, A. Kubarev, M. Vandichel, K. Hemelsoet, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, E. Smolders, D. Depla, D. Roeffaers, D. De Vos
Chemical Science
5 (11), 4517-4524
2014
A1

Abstract 

A new concept has been developed for generating highly dispersed base sites on metal-organic framework (MOF) lattices. The base catalytic activity of two alkaline earth MOFs, M2(BTC)(NO3)(DMF) (M = Ba or Sr, H3BTC = 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylic acid, DMF = N,N-dimethylformamide) was studied as a function of their activation procedure. The catalytic activity in Knoevenagel condensation and Michael addition reactions was found to increase strongly with activation temperature. Physicochemical characterization using FTIR, 13C CP MAS NMR, PXRD, XPS, TGA-MS, SEM, EPR, N2 physisorption and nitrate content analysis shows that during activation, up to 85 % of the nitrate anions are selectively removed from the structure and replaced with other charge compensating anions such as O2-. The defect sites generated via this activation act as new strong basic sites within the catalyst structure. A fluorescence microscopic visualization of the activity convincingly proves that the activity is exclusively associated with the hexagonal crystals, and that reaction proceeds inside the crystal’s interior. Theoretical analysis of the Ba-material shows that the basicity of the proposed Ba2+-O2--Ba2+ motives is close to that of edge sites in BaO.

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