M. Waroquier

Structural and photophysical properties of various polypyridyl ligands: A combined experimental and computational study

L. De Bruecker, J. Everaert, P. Van der Voort, C.V. Stevens, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
ChemPhysChem
2020
A1

Abstract 

Covalent triazine frameworks (CTFs) with polypyridyl ligands are very promising supports to anchor photocatalytic complexes. Herein, we investigate the photophysical properties of a series of ligands which vary by the extent of the aromatic system, the nitrogen content and their topologies to aid in selecting interesting building blocks for CTFs. Interestingly, some linkers have a rotational degree of freedom, allowing both a trans and cis structure, where only the latter allows anchoring. Therefore, the influence of the dihedral angle on the UV‐Vis spectrum is studied . The photophysical properties are investigated by a combined computational and experimental study. Theoretically, both static and molecular dynamics simulations are performed to deduce ground‐ and excited state properties based on density functional theory (DFT) and time‐dependent DFT. The position of the main absorption peak shifts towards higher wavelengths for an increased size of the π‐system and a higher π‐electron deficiency. We found that the position of the main absorption peak among the different ligands studied in this work can amount to 271 nm; which has a significant impact on the photophysical properties of the ligands. This broad range of shifts allows modulation of the electronic structure by varying the ligands and may help in a rational design of efficient photocatalysts.

Gold Open Access

Structural and photophysical properties of various polynitrile ligands: a conbined experimental and computational study.

L. De Bruecker, J. Everaert, P. Van der Voort, C.V. Stevens, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
ChemPhysChem
2020
A1

Abstract 

Covalent triazine frameworks (CTFs) with polypyridyl ligands are very promising supports to anchor photocatalytic complexes. Herein, we investigate the photophysical properties of a series of ligands which vary by the extent of the aromatic system, the nitrogen content and their topologies to aid in selecting interesting building blocks for CTFs. Interestingly, some linkers have a rotational degree of freedom, allowing both a trans and cis structure, where only the latter allows anchoring. Therefore, the influence of the dihedral angle on the UV‐Vis spectrum is studied . The photophysical properties are investigated by a combined computational and experimental study. Theoretically, both static and molecular dynamics simulations are performed to deduce ground‐ and excited state properties based on density functional theory (DFT) and time‐dependent DFT. The position of the main absorption peak shifts towards higher wavelengths for an increased size of the π‐system and a higher π‐electron deficiency. We found that the position of the main absorption peak among the different ligands studied in this work can amount to 271 nm; which has a significant impact on the photophysical properties of the ligands. This broad range of shifts allows modulation of the electronic structure by varying the ligands and may help in a rational design of efficient photocatalysts.

Ab initio enhanced sampling kinetic study on MTO ethene methylation reaction

S. Bailleul, K. Dedecker, P. Cnudde, L. Vanduyfhuys, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Catalysis
388, 38-51
2020
A1

Abstract 

The methylation reaction of ethene with methanol over the Brønsted acidic ZSM-5 catalyst is one of theprototype reactions within zeolite catalysis for which experimental kinetic data is available. It is one ofthe premier reactions within the methanol-to-olefins process and has been the subject of extensive the-oretical testing to predict the reaction rates. Herein, we apply, for the first time, first principle moleculardynamics methods to determine the intrinsic reaction kinetics taking into account the full configurationalentropy. As chemical reactions are rare events, enhanced sampling methods are necessary to obtain suf-ficient sampling of the configurational space at the activated region. A plethora of methods is availablewhich depend on specific choices like the selection of collective variables along which the dynamics isenhanced. Herein, a thorough first principle molecular dynamics study is presented to determine thereaction kinetics via various enhanced MD techniques on an exemplary reaction within zeolite catalysisfor which reference theoretical and experimental data are available.

Green Open Access

Light Olefin Diffusion during the MTO Process on H-SAPO-34: a Complex Interplay of Molecular Factors

P. Cnudde, R. Demuynck, S. Vandenbrande, M. Waroquier, G. Sastre, V. Van Speybroeck
JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society)
142 (13), 6007-6017
2020
A1

Abstract 

The methanol-to-olefins process over H-SAPO-34 is characterized by its high shape selectivity toward light olefins. The catalyst is a supramolecular system consisting of nanometer-sized inorganic cages, decorated by Brønsted acid sites, in which organic compounds, mostly methylated benzene species, are trapped. These hydrocarbon pool species are essential to catalyze the methanol conversion but may also clog the pores. As such, diffusion of ethene and propene plays an essential role in determining the ultimate product selectivity. Enhanced sampling molecular dynamics simulations based on either force fields or density functional theory are used to determine how molecular factors influence the diffusion of light olefins through the 8-ring windows of H-SAPO-34. Our simulations show that diffusion through the 8-ring in general is a hindered process, corresponding to a hopping event of the diffusing molecule between neighboring cages. The loading of different methanol, alkene, and aromatic species in the cages may substantially slow down or facilitate the diffusion process. The presence of Brønsted acid sites in the 8-ring enhances the diffusion process due to the formation of a favorable π-complex host–guest interaction. Aromatic hydrocarbon pool species severely hinder the diffusion and their spatial distribution in the zeolite crystal may have a significant effect on the product selectivity. Herein, we unveil how molecular factors influence the diffusion of light olefins in a complex environment with confined hydrocarbon pool species, high olefin loadings, and the presence of acid sites by means of enhanced molecular dynamics simulations under operating conditions.

Ab Initio Study of Poly(vinyl chloride) Propagation Kinetics: Head-to-Head versus Head-to-Tail Additions

K. Van Cauter, V. Van Speybroeck, M. Waroquier
ChemPhysChem
8, 541-552
2007
A1

Abstract 

The relative importance of head-to-head versus head-to-tail addi-tions during the free-radical polymerization of vinyl chloride isdetermined by ab initio methods for different chain lengths ofthe polymer. First, a level of theory study is performed to deter-mine cost-effective methods for the ab initio description of thepropagation kinetics of vinyl chloride. The study includes the fol-lowing DFT-based methods: B3LYP, B3PW91, BHandH, BHandH-LYP, BLYP, BP86, MPW1K and MPW1PW91, in combination withdouble or triple zeta basis sets 6-31G(d) and 6-311GACHTUNGTRENNUNG(d,p). Also,the more recently developed BMK and MPW1K functionals are in-cluded. The influence of diffuse functions is tested by comparisonwith the basis sets 6-31+G(d) and 6-311++GACHTUNGTRENNUNG(3df,2p). The best-performing methods are B3LYP, B3PW91 and MPW1K combinedwith the 6-31+G(d) basis set. The converged probability of head-to-head propagation (2 per 1000 monomer units) is put into rela-tion with the experimental concentrations of defect structures. Acomparison is made with the head-to-head (HH) content of fluo-rine-substituted polymers and poly(vinyl acetate). The ab initiocalculations correctly predict the relative sequence of HH contentamong the various polymers.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Unraveling the thermodynamic criteria for size-dependent spontaneous phase separation in soft porous crystals

S.M.J. Rogge, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Nature Communications
10, 4842
2019
A1

Abstract 

Soft porous crystals (SPCs) harbor a great potential as functional nanoporous materials owing to their stimuli-induced and tuneable morphing between different crystalline phases. These large-amplitude phase transitions are often assumed to occur cooperatively throughout the whole material, which thereby retains its perfect crystalline order. Here, we disprove this paradigm through mesoscale first-principles based molecular dynamics simulations, demonstrating that morphological transitions do induce spatial disorder under the form of interfacial defects and give rise to yet unidentified phase coexistence within a given sample. We hypothesize that this phase coexistence can be stabilized by carefully tuning the experimental control variables through, e.g., temperature or pressure quenching. The observed spatial disorder helps to rationalize yet elusive phenomena in SPCs, such as the impact of crystal downsizing on their flexible nature, thereby identifying the crystal size as a crucial design parameter for stimuli-responsive devices based on SPC nanoparticles and thin films.

Gold Open Access

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

Dynamic interplay between defective UiO-66 and protic solvents in activated processes

C. Caratelli, J. Hajek, E.J. Meijer, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Chemistry - A European Journal
25 (67), 15315-15325
2019
A1

Abstract 

UiO‐66, composed by Zr‐oxide inorganic bricks [Zr6(μ3‐O)4(μ3‐OH)4] and organic terephthalate linkers, is one of the most studied metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) due to its exceptional thermal, chemical, and mechanical stability. Thanks to its high connectivity, the material can withstand structural deformations during activation processes such as linker exchange, dehydration, and defect formation. These processes do alter the zirconium coordination number in a dynamic way, creating open metal sites for catalysis and thus are able to tune the catalytic properties. In this work, it is shown, by means of first‐principle molecular‐dynamics simulations at operating conditions, how protic solvents may facilitate such changes in the metal coordination. Solvent can induce structural rearrangements in the material that can lead to undercoordinated but also overcoordinated metal sites. This is demonstrated by simulating activation processes along well‐chosen collective variables. Such enhanced MD simulations are able to track the intrinsic dynamics of the framework at realistic conditions.

Pillared-layered metal-organic frameworks for mechanical energy storage applications

J. Wieme, S.M.J. Rogge, P.G. Yot, L. Vanduyfhuys, S.-K. Lee, J.-S. Chang, M. Waroquier, G. Maurin, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Materials Chemistry A
7 (39), 22663-22674
2019
A1

Abstract 

Herein we explore the unique potential of pillared-layered metal–organic frameworks of the DMOF-1 family for mechanical energy storage applications. In this work, we theoretically predict for the guest-free DMOF-1 a new contracted phase by exerting an external mechanical pressure of more than 200 MPa with respect to the stable phase at atmospheric pressure. The breathing transition is accompanied by a very large volume contraction of about 40%. The high transition pressures and associated volume changes make these materials highly promising with an outstanding mechanical energy work. Furthermore, we show that changing the nature of the metal allows to tune the behavior under mechanical pressure. The various phases were revealed by a combination of periodic density-functional theory calculations, force field molecular dynamics simulations and mercury intrusion experiments for DMOF-1(Zn) and DMOF-1(Cu). The combined experimental and theoretical approach allowed to discover the potential of these materials for new technological developments.

Gold Open Access

On the importance of anharmonicities and nuclear quantum effects in modelling the structural properties and thermal expansion of MOF-5

A. Lamaire, J. Wieme, S.M.J. Rogge, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Chemical Physics
150 (9), 094503
2019
A1

Abstract 

In this article, we investigate the influence of anharmonicities and nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) in modelling the structural properties and thermal expansion of the empty MOF-5 metal-organic framework. To introduce NQEs in classical molecular dynamics simulations, two different methodologies are considered, comparing the approximate, but computationally cheap, method of generalised Langevin equation thermostatting to the more advanced, computationally demanding path integral molecular dynamics technique. For both methodologies, similar results were obtained for all the properties under investigation. The structural properties of MOF-5, probed by means of radial distribution functions (RDFs), show some distinct differences with respect to a classical description. Besides a broadening of the RDF peaks under the influence of quantum fluctuations, a different temperature dependence is also observed due to a dominant zero-point energy (ZPE) contribution. For the thermal expansion of MOF-5, by contrast, NQEs appear to be only of secondary importance with respect to an adequate modelling of the anharmonicities of the potential energy surface (PES), as demonstrated by the use of two differently parametrised force fields. Despite the small effect in the temperature dependence of the volume of MOF-5, NQEs do however significantly affect the absolute volume of MOF-5, in which the ZPE resulting from the intertwining of NQEs and anharmonicities plays a crucial role. A sufficiently accurate description of the PES is therefore prerequisite when modelling NQEs.

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