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Issue 23, 2018
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First-principles theoretical assessment of catalysis by confinement: NO–O2 reactions within voids of molecular dimensions in siliceous crystalline frameworks

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Abstract

Density functional theory methods that include dispersive forces are used to show how voids of molecular dimensions enhance reaction rates by the mere confinement of transition states analogous to those involved in homogeneous routes and without requiring specific binding sites or structural defects within confining voids. These van der Waals interactions account for the observed large rate enhancements for NO oxidation in the presence of purely siliceous crystalline frameworks. The minimum free energy paths for NO oxidation within chabazite (CHA) and silicalite (SIL) frameworks involve intermediates similar in stoichiometry, geometry, and kinetic relevance to those involved in the homogeneous route. The termolecular transition state for the kinetically-relevant cis-NOO2NO isomerization to trans-NOO2NO is strongly stabilized by confinement within CHA (by 36.3 kJ mol−1 in enthalpy) and SIL (by 39.2 kJ mol−1); such enthalpic stabilization is compensated, in part, by concomitant entropy losses brought forth by confinement (CHA: 44.9; SIL: 45.3, J mol−1 K−1 at 298 K). These enthalpy and entropy changes upon confinement agree well with those measured and combine to significantly decrease activation free energies and are consistent with the rate enhancements that become larger as temperature decreases because of the more negative apparent activation energies in confined systems compared with homogeneous routes. Calculated free energies of confinement are in quantitative agreement with measured rate enhancements and with their temperature sensitivity. Such quantitative agreements reflect preeminent effects of geometry in determining the van der Waals contributions from contacts between the transition states (TS) and the confining walls and the weak effects of the level of theory on TS geometries. NO oxidation reactions are chosen here to illustrate these remarkable effects of confinement because detailed kinetic analysis of rate data are available, but also because of their critical role in the treatment of combustion effluents and in the synthesis of nitric acid and nitrates. Similar effects are evident from rate enhancements by confinement observed for Diels–Alder and alkyne oligomerization reactions. These reactions also occur in gaseous media at near ambient temperatures, for which enthalpic stabilization upon confinement of their homogeneous transition states becomes the preeminent component of activation free energies.

Graphical abstract: First-principles theoretical assessment of catalysis by confinement: NO–O2 reactions within voids of molecular dimensions in siliceous crystalline frameworks

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Mar 2018, accepted on 11 May 2018 and first published on 01 Jun 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01615A
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018,20, 15725-15735
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    First-principles theoretical assessment of catalysis by confinement: NO–O2 reactions within voids of molecular dimensions in siliceous crystalline frameworks

    M. Maestri and E. Iglesia, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, 20, 15725
    DOI: 10.1039/C8CP01615A

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