V. Van Speybroeck

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

Unravelling thermal stress due to thermal expansion mismatch in metal-organic frameworks for methane storage

J. Wieme, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Materials Chemistry A
2020
A1

Abstract 

Thermal stress is present in all systems undergoing temperature changes during their operation. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of porous, crystalline materials ideally suited for a wide range of adsorption-based technologies. The release and consumption of the heat of adsorption instigate temperature fluctuations and thermal stress in these materials that could induce disruptive volume changes. To bring these materials to engineering applications, it is of utmost importance to understand their thermal expansion behavior and the overall induced thermal stress due to thermal expansion mismatch with other components. In this work, we focus on a large group of MOFs known to have promising methane adsorption properties and predict their thermal expansion coefficients based on force field molecular dynamics simulations. Negative thermal expansion (NTE) behavior is predicted for all studied MOFs, and the magnitude of the NTE coefficients is found to be positively correlated with the degree of porosity of the frameworks. Finally, as a proxy for the thermal stress, the thermal pressure coefficient is calculated, which is found to be in the range between polymers and ceramics. Variations within the operating temperature range of MOFs are therefore expected to result in a relatively low thermal stress.

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.

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.

Mechanistic insight into the framework methylation ofH-ZSM-5 for varying methanol loading and Si/Al ratiousing first principles molecular dynamics simulations

S. A. F. Nastase, P. Cnudde, L. Vanduyfhuys, K. De Wispelaere, V. Van Speybroeck, C.R.A. Catlow, A. J. Logsdail
ACS Catalysis
2020
A1
Gold Open Access

N‐rich porous polymer with isolated Tb3+‐ions displays unique temperature dependent behavior through the absence of thermal quenching

F. Vanden Bussche, A.M. Kaczmarek, S. K. P. Veerapandian, J. Everaert, M. Debruyne, S. Abednatanzi, R. Morent, N. De Geyter, V. Van Speybroeck, P. Van der Voort, C.V. Stevens
Chemistry - A European Journal
2020
A1

Abstract 

The challenge of measuring fast moving or small scale samples is based on the absence of contact betw een sample and sensor. Grafting lanthanides onto hybrid materials arises as one of the most promising accurate techniques to obtain noninvasive thermometers. In this w ork, a novel bipyridine based Porous Organic Polymer (bpyDATPOP) wasinvestigatedastemperaturesensorafter grafting w ith Eu(acac) 3 and Tb(acac) 3 complexes. The bpyDAT POP successfully showed temperature dependent behavior in the 10 ‐ 310 K range, proving the potential of amorphous, porous organic framew orks. More intriguingly, w e observed unique temperature dependent behavior; instead of the standard observed change in emission as a result of a change in temperature for both Eu 3+ and Tb 3+ , the emission spectrumof Tb 3+ remained constant. This w ork provides framework‐ and energy‐based explanations for the observed phenomenon. The conjugation in the bpyDAT POP framew ork is interrupted, creating energetically isolated Tb 3+ environments. Energy transferfromTb 3+ toEu 3+ isthereforeabsent,norenergybacktransfer from Tb 3+ to bpyDAT POP ligand (i.e. no thermal quenching) is detected.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Cation−π Interactions Accelerate the Living Cationic Ring-Opening Polymerization of Unsaturated 2-Alkyl-2-oxazolines

E. Van den Broeck, B. Verbraeken, K. Dedecker, P. Cnudde, L. Vanduyfhuys, T. Verstraelen, K. Van Hecke, V. V. Jerca, S. Catak, R. Hoogenboom, V. Van Speybroeck
Macromolecules
s
2020
A1

Abstract 

Cation–dipole interactions were previously shown to have a rate-enhancing effect on the cationic ring-opening polymerization (CROP) of 2-oxazolines bearing a side-chain ester functionality. In line with this, a similar rate enhancement—via intermolecular cation−π interactions—was anticipated to occur when π-bonds are introduced into the 2-oxazoline side-chains. Moreover, the incorporation of π-bonds allows for facile postfunctionalization of the resulting poly(2-oxazoline)s with double and triple bonds in the side-chains via various click reactions. Herein, a combined molecular modeling and experimental approach was used to study the CROP reaction rates of 2-oxazolines with side-chains having varying degrees of unsaturation and side-chain length. The presence of cation−π interactions and the influence of the degree of unsaturation were initially confirmed by means of regular molecular dynamics simulations on pentameric systems. Furthermore, a combination of enhanced molecular dynamics simulations, static calculations, and a thorough analysis of the noncovalent interactions was performed to unravel to what extent cation−π interactions alter the reaction kinetics. Additionally, the observed trends were confirmed also in the presence of acetonitrile as solvent, in which experimentally the polymerization is performed. Most intriguingly, we found only a limited effect on the intrinsic reaction kinetics of the CROP and a preorganization effect in the reactive complex region. The latter effect was established by the unsaturated side-chains and the cationic center through a complex interplay between cation−π, π–π, π–induced dipole, and cation–dipole interactions. These findings led us to propose a two-step mechanism comprised of an equilibration step and a CROP reaction step. The influence of the degree of unsaturation, through a preorganization effect, on the equilibration step was determined with the following trend for the polymerization rates: n-ButylOx < ButenOx < ButynOx ≥ PentynOx. The trend was experimentally confirmed by determining the polymerization rate constants.

Gold Open Access

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

Elucidating the promotional effect of a covalent triazine framework in aerobic oxidation

S. Abednatanzi, P. Gohari Derakhshandeh, P. Tack, F. Muniz-Miranda, Y-Y Liu, J. Everaert, M. Meledina, F. Vanden Bussche, L. Vincze, C. Stevens, V. Van Speybroeck, H. Vrielinck, F. Callens, K. Leus, P. Van der Voort
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental
269, 118769
2020
A1

Charting the Metal-Dependent High-Pressure Stability of Bimetallic UiO-66 Materials

S.M.J. Rogge, P.G. Yot, J. Jacobsen, F. Muniz-Miranda, S. Vandenbrande, J. Gosch, V. Ortiz, I. Collings, S. Devautour-Vinot, G. Maurin, N. Stock, V. Van Speybroeck
ACS Materials Letters
2 (4), 438-445
2020
A1

Abstract 

In theory, bimetallic UiO-66(Zr:Ce) and UiO-66(Zr:Hf) metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are extremely versatile and attractive nanoporous materials as they combine the high catalytic activity of UiO-66(Ce) or UiO-66(Hf) with the outstanding stability of UiO-66(Zr). Using in situ high-pressure powder X-ray diffraction, however, we observe that this expected mechanical stability is not achieved when incorporating cerium or hafnium in UiO-66(Zr). This observation is akin to the earlier observed reduced thermal stability of UiO-66(Zr:Ce) compounds. To elucidate the atomic origin of this phenomenon, we chart the loss-of-crystallinity pressures of 22 monometallic and bimetallic UiO-66 materials and systematically isolate their intrinsic mechanical stability from their defect-induced weakening. This complementary experimental/computational approach reveals that the intrinsic mechanical stability of these bimetallic MOFs decreases nonlinearly upon cerium incorporation but remains unaffected by the zirconium:hafnium ratio. Additionally, all experimental samples suffer from defect-induced weakening, a synthesis-controlled effect that is observed to be independent of their intrinsic stability.

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