The structural elucidation of catalyst active sites in heterogeneous catalysts when supported by traditional metal oxides remains a challenge despite the advanced characterization techniques that have been developed. The catalyst-deposition-site nonuniformity in metal oxides inhibits clear structural characterization through bulk spectroscopic methods and rules out the use of single-crystal X-ray diffraction. However, for metal-organic framework (MOF)-supported catalysts, the crystallinity and uniform structures of the underlying support enhance our ability to identify the precatalyst and catalytically active sites and open the door to using single-crystal X-ray diffraction coupled with spectroscopy under reaction conditions. The use of in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy identifies the catalytically active site in diethylaluminum chloride (DEAC)-pretreated Cr-SIM-NU-1000 to be a Cr-ethyl when used for ethylene polymerization. Further kinetic experiments elucidate the effects of ethylene pressure, temperature, catalyst loading, and cocatalyst loading, furthering mechanistic knowledge and helping to deconvolute the structure-function relationship.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films