Template–Framework Interactions in Tetraethylammonium-Directed Zeolite Synthesis
Schmidt, Joel E.; Fu, Donglong; Deem, Michael W.; Weckhuysen, Bert M.
Zeolites, having widespread applications in chemical industries, are often synthesized using organic templates. These can be cost-prohibitive, motivating investigations into their role in promoting crystallization. Herein, the relationship between framework structure, chemical composition, synthesis conditions and the conformation of the occluded, economical template tetraethylammonium (TEA+) has been systematically examined by experimental and computational means. The results show two distinct regimes of occluded conformer tendencies: 1) In frameworks with a large stabilization energy difference, only a single conformer was found (BEA, LTA and MFI). 2) In the frameworks with small stabilization energy differences (AEI, AFI, CHA and MOR), less than the interconversion of TEA+ in solution, a heteroatom-dependent (Al, B, Co, Mn, Ti, Zn) distribution of conformers was observed. These findings demonstrate that host–guest chemistry principles, including electrostatic interactions and coordination chemistry, are as important as ideal pore-filling.