Sulfated Zirconium Metal-Organic Frameworks as Well-Defined Supports for Enhancing Organometallic Catalysis

Zoha H. Syed, Mohammad Rasel Mian, Roshan Patel, Haomiao Xie, Zihan Pengmei, Zhihengyu Chen, Florencia A. Son, Timothy A. Goetjen, Alon Chapovetsky, Kira M. Fahy, Fanrui Sha, Xingjie Wang, Selim Alayoglu, David M. Kaphan, Karena W. Chapman, Matthew Neurock, Laura Gagliardi, Massimiliano Delferro, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Understanding heterogeneous catalysts is a challenging pursuit due to surface site nonuniformity and aperiodicity in traditionally used materials. One example is sulfated metal oxides, which function as highly active catalysts and as supports for organometallic complexes. These applications are due to traits such as acidity, ability to act as a weakly coordinating ligand, and aptitude for promoting transformations via radical cation intermediates. Research is ongoing about the structural features of sulfated metal oxides that imbue the aforementioned properties, such as sulfate geometry and coordination. To better understand these materials, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have been targeted as structurally defined analogues. Composed of inorganic nodes and organic linkers, MOFs possess features such as high porosity and crystallinity, which make them attractive for mechanistic studies of heterogeneous catalysts. In this work, Zr6-based MOF NU-1000 is sulfated and characterized using techniques such as single crystal X-ray diffraction in addition to diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS). The dynamic nature of the sulfate binding motif is found to transition from monodentate, to bidentate, to tridentate depending on the degree of hydration, as supported by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Heightened Brønsted acidity compared to the parent MOF was observed upon sulfation and probed through trimethylphosphine oxide physisorption, ammonia sorption, in situ ammonia DRIFTS, and DFT studies. With the support structure benchmarked, an organoiridium complex was chemisorbed onto the sulfated MOF node, and the efficacy of this supported catalyst was demonstrated for stoichiometric and catalytic activation of benzene-d6and toluene with structure-activity relationships derived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16883-16897
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 21 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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