Encapsulation of Cu nanoparticles in nanovoids of plate-like silica sodalite through interlayer condensation of Cu2+ ion-exchanged layered silicate RUB-15†
The interlayer condensation of layered silicates is a unique method for synthesizing zeolites and is effective for the introduction of metal species into platy zeolite frameworks. Layered silicate RUB-15 is a useful starting material because metal ions can be introduced between the layers and zeolite frameworks (all-silica SOD-type zeolite; silica sodalite) can be formed through interlayer condensation. In this study, Cu ions were intercalated into layered silicate RUB-15, and metal Cu nanoparticles were formed in the nanovoids of silica sodalite by a simple heat treatment in an inert atmosphere. Both interlayer condensation and the reduction of Cu2+ ions were confirmed by in situ XRD analysis performed during the heat treatment. The residual interlayer tetramethylammonium ions played two roles: the control of stacking sequence in the interlayer condensation and the reduction of Cu2+ ions. The formed Cu nanoparticles were stable in air atmosphere because of their confinement in the nanovoids of the sodalite frameworks.