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Pathways towards true catalysts: computational modelling and structural transformations of Zn-polyoxotungstates


Ni, Lubin; Güttinger, Robin; Triana, C A; Spingler, Bernhard; Baldridge, Kim K; Patzke, Greta R (2019). Pathways towards true catalysts: computational modelling and structural transformations of Zn-polyoxotungstates. Dalton Transactions, 48(35):13293-13304.

Abstract

Current catalysis undergoes a paradigm shift from molecular and heterogeneous realms towards new dynamic catalyst concepts. This calls for innovative strategies to understand the essential catalytic motifs and true catalysts emerging from oxidative transformation processes. Polyoxometalate (POM) clusters offer an inexhaustible reservoir for new noble metal-free catalysts and excellent model systems whose structure-activity relationships and mechanisms remain to be explored. Here, we first introduce a new {ZnnNa6-n(B-alpha-SbW9O33)(2)} (n = 3-6) catalyst family with remarkable tuning options of the Zn-based core structure and high activity in H2O2-assisted catalytic alcohol oxidation as a representative reaction. Next, high level solution-based computational modelling of the intermediates and transition states was carried out for [Zn6Cl6(SbW9O33)(2)](12-) as a representative well-defined case. The results indicate a radical-based oxidation process with the involvement of tungsten and adjacent zinc metal centers. The {ZnnNa6-n(B-alpha-SbW9O33)(2)} series indeed efficiently catalyses alcohol oxidation via peroxotungstate intermediates, in agreement with strong spectroscopic support and other experimental evidence for the radical mechanism. Finally, the high performance of [Zn6Cl6(SbW9O33)(2)](12-) was traced back to its transformation into a highly active and robust disordered Zn/W-POM catalyst. The atomic short-range structure of this resting pre-catalyst was elucidated by RMC modelling of the experimental W-L-3 and Zn-K edge EXAFS spectra and supported with further analytical methods. We demonstrate that computational identification of the reactive sites combined with the analytical tracking of their dynamic transformations provides essential input to expedite cluster-based molecular catalyst design.

Abstract

Current catalysis undergoes a paradigm shift from molecular and heterogeneous realms towards new dynamic catalyst concepts. This calls for innovative strategies to understand the essential catalytic motifs and true catalysts emerging from oxidative transformation processes. Polyoxometalate (POM) clusters offer an inexhaustible reservoir for new noble metal-free catalysts and excellent model systems whose structure-activity relationships and mechanisms remain to be explored. Here, we first introduce a new {ZnnNa6-n(B-alpha-SbW9O33)(2)} (n = 3-6) catalyst family with remarkable tuning options of the Zn-based core structure and high activity in H2O2-assisted catalytic alcohol oxidation as a representative reaction. Next, high level solution-based computational modelling of the intermediates and transition states was carried out for [Zn6Cl6(SbW9O33)(2)](12-) as a representative well-defined case. The results indicate a radical-based oxidation process with the involvement of tungsten and adjacent zinc metal centers. The {ZnnNa6-n(B-alpha-SbW9O33)(2)} series indeed efficiently catalyses alcohol oxidation via peroxotungstate intermediates, in agreement with strong spectroscopic support and other experimental evidence for the radical mechanism. Finally, the high performance of [Zn6Cl6(SbW9O33)(2)](12-) was traced back to its transformation into a highly active and robust disordered Zn/W-POM catalyst. The atomic short-range structure of this resting pre-catalyst was elucidated by RMC modelling of the experimental W-L-3 and Zn-K edge EXAFS spectra and supported with further analytical methods. We demonstrate that computational identification of the reactive sites combined with the analytical tracking of their dynamic transformations provides essential input to expedite cluster-based molecular catalyst design.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Inorganic Chemistry
Language:English
Date:21 September 2019
Deposited On:27 Sep 2019 14:41
Last Modified:28 Sep 2019 01:04
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN:1477-9226
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1039/c9dt03018b

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