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Chelating Agent-Free, Vapor-Assisted Crystallization Method to Synthesize Hierarchical Microporous/Mesoporous MIL-125 (Ti)

McNamara, Nicholas D., Hicks, Jason C.
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2015 v.7 no.9 pp. 5338-5346
active sites, adsorption, biomass, catalysts, catalytic activity, coordination polymers, crystallization, diameter, oxidation, petroleum, porous media, thiophene
Titanium-based microporous heterogeneous catalysts are widely studied but are often limited by the accessibility of reactants to active sites. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), such as MIL-125 (Ti), exhibit enhanced surface areas due to their high intrinsic microporosity, but the pore diameters of most microporous MOFs are often too small to allow for the diffusion of larger reactants (>7 Å) relevant to petroleum and biomass upgrading. In this work, hierarchical microporous MIL-125 exhibiting significantly enhanced interparticle mesoporosity was synthesized using a chelating-free, vapor-assisted crystallization method. The resulting hierarchical MOF was examined as an active catalyst for the oxidation of dibenzothiophene (DBT) with tert-butyl hydroperoxide and outperformed the solely microporous analogue. This was attributed to greater access of the substrate to surface active sites, as the pores in the microporous analogues were of inadequate size to accommodate DBT. Moreover, thiophene adsorption studies suggested the mesoporous MOF contained larger amounts of unsaturated metal sites that could enhance the observed catalytic activity.