Computationally Guided Discovery of Metal-Decorated Metal–Organic Frameworks Active for Catalysis
The metal-organic framework NU-1000, with Zr6-oxo, hydroxo, and aqua nodes, was modified by incorporation of hydroxylated Al(III) ions by ALD-like chemistry with [Al(CH3)2(iso-propoxide)]2 followed by steam (ALD = atomic layer deposition). Al ions were installed to the extent of approximately 7 per node. Single-site iridium diethylene complexes were anchored to the nodes of the modified and unmodified MOFs by reaction with Ir(C2H4)2(acac) (acac is acetylacetonate) and converted to Ir(CO)2 complexes by treatment with CO. Infrared spectra of these supported complexes show that incorporation of Al weakened the electron donor tendency of the MOF. Correspondingly, the catalytic activity of the initial supported iridium complexes for ethylene hydrogenation increased, as did the selectivity for ethylene dimerization. The results of density functional theory calculations with a simplified model of the nodes incorporating Al(III) ions are in qualitative agreement with catalyst performance data.