V. Van Speybroeck

Thermodynamic insight into stimuli-responsive behavior of soft porous crystals

L. Vanduyfhuys, S.M.J. Rogge, J. Wieme, S. Vandenbrande, G. Maurin, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Nature Communications
9, 1, 204
2018
A1

Abstract 

Knowledge of the thermodynamic potential in terms of the independent variables allows to characterize the macroscopic state of the system. However, in practice, it is difficult to access this potential experimentally due to irreversible transitions that occur between equilibrium states. A showcase example of sudden transitions between (meta)stable equilibrium states is observed for soft porous crystals possessing a network with long-range structural order, which can transform between various states upon external stimuli such as pressure, temperature and guest adsorption. Such phase transformations are typically characterized by large volume changes and may be followed experimentally by monitoring the volume change in terms of certain external triggers. Herein, we present a generalized thermodynamic approach to construct the underlying Helmholtz free energy as a function of the state variables that governs the observed behaviour based on microscopic simulations. This concept allows a unique identification of the conditions under which a material becomes flexible.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

The Importance of Cell Shape Sampling To Accurately Predict Flexibility in Metal-Organic Frameworks

S.M.J. Rogge, S. Caroes, R. Demuynck, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, A. Ghysels
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
14 (3), 1186-1197
2018
A1

Abstract 

In this work, the influence of cell shape sampling on the predicted stability of the different metastable phases in flexible metal–organic frameworks at finite temperatures is investigated. The influence on the free energy by neglecting cell shape sampling is quantified for the prototypical MIL-53(Al) and the topical DUT-49(Cu). This goal is achieved by constructing free energy profiles in ensembles either in which the phase space associated with the cell shape is sampled explicitly or in which the cell shape is kept fixed. When neglecting cell shape sampling, thermodynamic integration of the hydrostatic pressure yields unreliable free energy profiles that depend on the choice of the fixed cell shape. In this work, we extend the thermodynamic integration procedure via the introduction of a generalized pressure, derived from the Lagrangian strain tensor and the second Piola–Kirchhoff tensor. Using this generalized procedure, the dependence on the unit cell shape can be eliminated, and the inaccuracy in free energy stemming from the lack of cell shape sampling can be uniquely quantified. Finally, it is shown that the inaccuracy in free energy when fixing the cell shape at room temperature stems mainly from entropic contributions for both MIL-53(Al) and DUT-49(Cu).

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

Efficient Construction of Free Energy Profiles of Breathing Metal-Organic Frameworks Using Advanced Molecular Dynamics Simulations

R. Demuynck, S.M.J. Rogge, L. Vanduyfhuys, J. Wieme, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (JCTC)
13 (12), 5861-5873
2017
A1

Abstract 

In order to reliably predict and understand the breathing behavior of highly flexible metal–organic frameworks from thermodynamic considerations, an accurate estimation of the free energy difference between their different metastable states is a prerequisite. Herein, a variety of free energy estimation methods are thoroughly tested for their ability to construct the free energy profile as a function of the unit cell volume of MIL-53(Al). The methods comprise free energy perturbation, thermodynamic integration, umbrella sampling, metadynamics, and variationally enhanced sampling. A series of molecular dynamics simulations have been performed in the frame of each of the five methods to describe structural transformations in flexible materials with the volume as the collective variable, which offers a unique opportunity to assess their computational efficiency. Subsequently, the most efficient method, umbrella sampling, is used to construct an accurate free energy profile at different temperatures for MIL-53(Al) from first principles at the PBE+D3(BJ) level of theory. This study yields insight into the importance of the different aspects such as entropy contributions and anharmonic contributions on the resulting free energy profile. As such, this thorough study provides unparalleled insight in the thermodynamics of the large structural deformations of flexible materials.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Reliably Modeling the Mechanical Stability of Rigid and Flexible Metal-Organic Frameworks

S.M.J. Rogge, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Accounts of Chemical Research
51 (1), 138-148
2018
A1

Abstract 

Over the past two decades, metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) have matured from interesting academic peculiarities toward a continuously expanding class of hybrid, nanoporous materials tuned for targeted technological applications such as gas storage and heterogeneous catalysis. These oft-times crystalline materials, composed of inorganic moieties interconnected by organic ligands, can be endowed with desired structural and chemical features by judiciously functionalizing or substituting these building blocks. As a result of this reticular synthesis, MOF research is situated at the intriguing intersection between chemistry and physics, and the building block approach could pave the way toward the construction of an almost infinite number of possible crystalline structures, provided that they exhibit stability under the desired operational conditions. However, this enormous potential is largely untapped to date, as MOFs have not yet found a major breakthrough in technological applications. One of the remaining challenges for this scale-up is the densification of MOF powders, which is generally achieved by subjecting the material to a pressurization step. However, application of an external pressure may substantially alter the chemical and physical properties of the material. A reliable theoretical guidance that can presynthetically identify the most stable materials could help overcome this technological challenge.

In this Account, we describe the recent research the progress on computational characterization of the mechanical stability of MOFs. So far, three complementary approaches have been proposed, focusing on different aspects of mechanical stability: (i) the Born stability criteria, (ii) the anisotropy in mechanical moduli such as the Young and shear moduli, and (iii) the pressure-versus-volume equations of state. As these three methods are grounded in distinct computational approaches, it is expected that their accuracy and efficiency will vary. To date, however, it is unclear which set of properties are suited and reliable for a given application, as a comprehensive comparison for a broad variety of MOFs is absent, impeding the widespread use of these theoretical frameworks.

Herein, we fill this gap by critically assessing the performance of the three computational models on a broad set of MOFs that are representative for current applications. These materials encompass the mechanically rigid UiO-66(Zr) and MOF-5(Zn) as well as the flexible MIL-47(V) and MIL-53(Al), which undergo pressure-induced phase transitions. It is observed that the Born stability criteria and pressure-versus-volume equations of state give complementary insight into the macroscopic and microscopic origins of instability, respectively. However, interpretation of the Born stability criteria becomes increasingly difficult when less symmetric materials are considered. Moreover, pressure fluctuations during the simulations hamper their accuracy for flexible materials. In contrast, the pressure-versus-volume equations of state are determined in a thermodynamic ensemble specifically targeted to mitigate the effects of these instantaneous fluctuations, yielding more accurate results. The critical Account presented here paves the way toward a solid computational framework for an extensive presynthetic screening of MOFs to select those that are mechanically stable and can be postsynthetically densified before their use in targeted applications.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Influence of a confined methanol solvent on the reactivity of active sites in UiO-66

C. Caratelli, J. Hajek, S.M.J. Rogge, S. Vandenbrande, E.J. Meijer, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
ChemPhysChem
19 (4), 420-429
2018
A1

Abstract 

UiO-66, composed of Zr-oxide bricks and terephthalate linkers, is currently one of the most studied metal-organic frameworks due to its exceptional stability. Defects can be introduced in the structure, creating undercoordinated Zr atoms which are Lewis acid sites. Here, additional Brønsted sites can be generated by coordinated protic species from the solvent. In this contribution, a multilevel modeling approach was applied to unravel the effect of a confined methanol solvent on the active sites in UiO-66. First, active sites were explored with static periodic density functional theory calculations to investigate adsorption of water and methanol. Solvent was then introduced in the pores with grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations, followed by a series of molecular dynamics simulations at operating conditions. A hydrogen-bonded network of methanol molecules is formed, allowing the protons to shuttle between solvent methanol, adsorbed water, and the inorganic brick. Upon deprotonation of an active site, the methanol solvent aids the transfer of protons and stabilizes charged configurations via hydrogen bonding, which could be crucial in stabilizing reactive intermediates. The multilevel modeling approach adopted here sheds light on the important role of a confined solvent on the active sites in the UiO-66 material, introducing dynamic acidity in the system at finite temperatures by which protons may be easily shuttled from various positions at the active sites.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Methane Adsorption in Zr-Based MOFs: Comparison and Critical Evaluation of Force Fields

S. Vandenbrande, T. Verstraelen, J. J. Gutierrez-Sevillano, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Physical Chemistry C
121 (45), 25309-25322
2017
A1

Abstract 

The search for nanoporous materials that are highly performing for gas storage and separation is one of the contemporary challenges in material design. The computational tools to aid these experimental efforts are widely available and adsorption isotherms are routinely computed for huge sets of (hypothetical) frameworks. Clearly the computational results depend on the interactions between the adsorbed species and the adsorbent, which are commonly described using force fields. In this paper, an extensive comparison and in-depth investigation of several force fields from literature is reported for the case of methane adsorption in the Zr-based Metal-Organic Frameworks UiO-66, UiO-67, DUT-52, NU-1000 and MOF-808. Significant quantitative differences in the computed uptake are observed when comparing different force fields, but most qualitative features are common which suggests some predictive power of the simulations when it comes to these properties. More insight into to the host-guest interactions is obtained by benchmarking the force fields with an extensive number of ab initio computed single molecule interaction energies. This analysis at the molecular level reveals that especially ab initio derived force fields perform well in reproducing the ab initio interaction energies. Finally, the high sensitivity of uptake predictions on the underlying potential energy surface is explored.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Reactivity of 3-oxo-β-lactams with respect to primary amines - an experimental and computational approach

N. Piens, H. Goossens, D. Hertsen, S. Deketelaere, L. Crul, L. Demeurisse, J. De Moor, E. Van den Broeck, K. Mollet, K. Van Hecke, V. Van Speybroeck, M. D'Hooghe
Chemistry - A European Journal
2017 (23), 1-9
2017
A1

Abstract 

The reactivity of 3-oxo-β-lactams with respect to primary amines was investigated in depth. Depending on the specific azetidin-2-one C4 substituent, this reaction was shown to selectively produce 3-imino-β-lactams (through dehydration), α-aminoamides (through CO elimination) or ethanediamides (through an unprecedented C3-C4 ring opening). In addition to the experimental results, the mechanisms and factors governing these peculiar transformations were also examined and elucidated by means of density functional theory calculations.

A series of sulfonic acid functionalized mixed-linker DUT-4 analogues: synthesis, gas sorption properties and catalytic performance

G. Wang, K. Leus, K. Hendrickx, J. Wieme, H. Depauw, Y-Y Liu, V. Van Speybroeck, P. Van der Voort
Dalton Transactions
46, 14356
2017
A1

Abstract 

In this work, we present the successful synthesis of a series of sulfonic acid functionalized mixed-linker metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) having the DUT-4 topology by using different ratios of 2,6-naphthalenedicarboxylic acid (H2-NDC) and 4,8-disulfonaphthalene-2,6-dicarboxylic acid (H2-NDC-2SO3H) in one-pot reactions. The obtained materials were fully characterized and their CO2 adsorption properties at low and high pressures were studied and compared with those of the pristine DUT-4 material. Generally, the CO2 adsorption capacities range from 3.28 and 1.36 mmol g−1 for DUT-4 to 1.54 and 0.78 mmol g−1 for DUT-4-SO3H (50) up to 1 bar at 273 K and 303 K, respectively. Computational calculations corroborated the structural changes of the material in function of the loading of sulfonic acid groups. Furthermore, due to the strong Brønsted acid character, the resulting sulfonic acid based MOF material was evaluated as a catalyst for the ring opening of styrene oxide with methanol as a nucleophile under mild conditions, showing almost full conversion (99%) after 5 hours of reaction. A hot filtration experiment demonstrated that the catalysis occurred heterogeneously and the catalyst could be recovered and reused for multiple runs without significant loss in activity and crystallinity.

Alternating Copolymer of Double Four Ring Silicate and Dimethyl Silicone Monomer - PSS-1

S. Smet, S. Vandenbrande, P. Verlooy, S. Kerkhofs, E. Breynaert, C. Kirschhock, C. Martineau, F. Taulelle, V. Van Speybroeck, J.A. Martens
Chemistry - A European Journal
23 (47), 11286-11293
2017
A1

Abstract 

A new copolymer consisting of double four ring (D4R) silicate units linked by dimethylsilicone monomer referred to as polyoligosiloxysilicone number one (PSS-1) was synthesized. The D4R building unit is provided by hexamethyleneimine cyclosilicate hydrate crystals, which were dehydrated and reacted with dichlorodimethylsilane. The local structure of D4R silicate units and dimethyl silicone monomers was revealed by multidimensional solid-state NMR, FTIR and modeling. On average, D4R silicate units have 6.8 silicone linkages. Evidence for preferential unidirectional growth and chain ordering within the PSS-1 copolymer was provided by STEM and TEM. The structure of PSS-1 copolymer consists of twisted columns of D4R silicate units with or without cross-linking. Both models are consistent with the spectroscopic, microscopic and physical properties. PSS-1 chains are predicted to be mechanically strong compared to silicones such as PDMS, yet more flexible than rigid silica materials such as zeolites.

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