Au@ZIFs: stabilization and encapsulation of cavity-size matching gold clusters inside functionalized Zeolite Imidazolate Frameworks, ZIFs
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Chemistry of materials / American Chemical Society. - Washington, D.C.
, p. 6393-6401
University of Antwerp
The selective formation and stabilization of very small, naked metal particles inside the cavities of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and the simultaneous realization of an even distribution of the particles throughout the crystalline MOF host matrix over a wide range of metal loading are challenging goals. MOFs reveal high specific surface areas, tunable pore sizes, and organic linkers, which are able to interact with guests. The chemically very robust zeolite imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) are a subclass of MOFs. We chose the microporous sodalite-like ZIF-8 (Zn(MelM)(2); IM = imidazolate) and ZIF-90 (Zn(ICA)(2); ICA = imidazolate-2-carboxyaldehyde) as host matrices to influence the dispersion of imbedded gold nanoparticles (Au NPs). The metal loading was achieved via gas phase infiltration of [Au(CO)Cl] followed by a thermal hydrogenation step to form the Au NPs. Low-dose high-resolution transmission electron microscopy ((HR)TEM) and electron tomography reveal a homogeneous distribution of Au NPs throughout the ZIF matrix. The functional groups of ZIF-90 direct the anchoring of intermediate Au species and stabilize drastically smaller and quite monodisperse Au NPs in contrast to the parent not functionalized ZIF-8. The particles can be very small, match the cavity size and approach defined molecular clusters of magic numbers, i.e., Au(55), independently from the level of loading. Post-synthetic oxidation of the aldehyde groups to yield alkyl esters by the adjacent, catalytically active metal NPs is presented as a new concept of encapsulating nanoparticles inside MOFs and allows multiple steps of metal loadings without decomposition of the MOF.