Recent Submissions

  • Efficient Photon Recycling and Radiation Trapping in Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Waveguides

    Dursun, Ibrahim; Zheng, Yangzi; Guo, Tianle; de Bastiani, Michele; Turedi, Bekir; Sinatra, Lutfan; Haque, Mohammed; Sun, Bin; Zhumekenov, Ayan A.; Saidaminov, Makhsud I.; Garcia de Arquer, F. Pelayo; Sargent, Edward H.; Wu, Tao; Gartstein, Yuri N; Bakr, Osman; Mohammed, Omar F.; Malko, Anton V. (ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-26) [Article]
    Cesium lead halide perovskite materials have attracted considerable attention for potential applications in lasers, light emitting diodes and photodetectors. Here, we provide the experimental and theoretical evidence for photon recycling in CsPbBr3 perovskite microwires. Using two-photon excitation, we recorded photoluminescence (PL) lifetimes and emission spectra as a function of the lateral distance between PL excitation and collection positions along the microwire, with separations exceeding 100 µm. At longer separations, the PL spectrum develops a red-shifted emission peak accompanied by an appearance of well-resolved rise times in the PL kinetics. We developed quantitative modeling that accounts for bimolecular recombination and photon recycling within the microwire waveguide and is sufficient to account for the observed decay modifications. It relies on a high radiative efficiency in CsPbBr3 perovskite microwires and provides crucial information about the potential impact of photon recycling and waveguide trapping on optoelectronic properties of cesium lead halide perovskite materials.
  • Quantification of Ionic Diffusion in Lead Halide Perovskite Single Crystals

    Peng, Wei; Aranda, Clara; Bakr, Osman; Garcia-Belmonte, Germà; Bisquert, Juan; Guerrero, Antonio (ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-25) [Article]
    Lead halide perovskites are mixed electronic/ionic semiconductors that have recently revolutionized the photovoltaics field. The physical characterization of the ionic conductivity has been rather elusive due to the highly intermixing of ionic and electronic current. In this work the synthesis of low defect density monocrystalline MAPbBr3 (MA=Methyl ammonium) solar cells free of hole transport layer (HTL) suppresses the effect of electronic current. Impedance spectroscopy reveals the characteristic signature of ionic diffusion (the Warburg element and transmission line equivalent circuit) and ion accumulation at the MAPbBr3/Au interface. Diffusion coefficients are calculated based on a good correlation between thickness of MAPbBr3 and characteristic diffusion transition frequency. In addition, reactive external interfaces are studied by comparison of polycrystalline MAPbBr3 devices prepared either with or without a HTL. The low frequency response in IS measurements is correlated with the chemical reactivity of moving ions with the external interfaces and diffusion into the HTL.
  • Synthesis of an oxo trialkyl tungsten fluoride complex and its dual reactivity with silica dehydroxylated at high temperature

    Merle, Nicolas; Mazoyer, Etienne; Szeto, Kai C.; Rouge, Pascal; de Mallmann, Aimery; Berrier, Elise; Delevoye, Laurent; Gauvin, Régis M.; Nicholas, Christopher P.; Basset, Jean-Marie; Taoufik, Mostafa (Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, Elsevier BV, 2018-05-22) [Article]
    The novel complex W (=O)Np3F has been prepared by fluorination of the corresponding chloride counterpart with AgBF4. The reactivity of this complex with silica dehydroxylated at 700 °C afforded a well-defined silica supported monopodal tungsten oxo trialkyl surface species (≡SiO)W (=O)Np3. The reaction proceeds both through silanolysis of the W-F bond and opening of a siloxane bridge, with formation of a Si-F fragment, thanks to the affinity of silicon for fluoride. The resulting surface species was characterized by elemental analysis, DRIFT, solid state NMR and EXAFS spectroscopy. This material presenting fluorine on its surface shows an enhanced catalytic activity in propylene self-metathesis compared to its monopodal counterpart (≡SiO)W (=O)Np3 (prepared from W (=O)Np3Cl) suggesting that the Si-F in a close vicinity to the W decreases the electron density of the W and thus increases its reactivity towards the olefinic substrate.
  • Application of Semiempirical Methods to Transition Metal Complexes: Fast Results but Hard-to-Predict Accuracy.

    Minenkov, Yury; Sharapa, Dmitry I.; Cavallo, Luigi (Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-22) [Article]
    A series of semiempirical PM6* and PM7 methods has been tested in reproducing of relative conformational energies of 27 realistic-size complexes of 16 different transition metals (TMs). An analysis of relative energies derived from single-point energy evaluations on density functional theory (DFT) optimized conformers revealed pronounced deviations between semiempirical and DFT methods indicating fundamental difference in potential energy surfaces (PES). To identify the origin of the deviation, we compared fully optimized PM7 and respective DFT conformers. For many complexes, differences in PM7 and DFT conformational energies have been confirmed often manifesting themselves in false coordination of some atoms (H, O) to TMs and chemical transformations/distortion of coordination center geometry in PM7 structures. Despite geometry optimization with fixed coordination center geometry leads to some improvements in conformational energies, the resulting accuracy is still too low to recommend explored semiempirical methods for out-of-the-box conformational search/sampling: careful testing is always needed.
  • Nanosheets of Nonlayered Aluminum Metal-Organic Frameworks through a Surfactant-Assisted Method

    Pustovarenko, Alexey; Goesten, Maarten G.; Sachdeva, Sumit; Shan, Meixia; Amghouz, Zakariae; Belmabkhout, Youssef; Dikhtiarenko, Alla; Rodenas, Tania; Keskin, Damla; Voets, Ilja K.; Weckhuysen, Bert M.; Eddaoudi, Mohamed; de Smet, Louis C. P. M.; Sudhölter, Ernst J. R.; Kapteijn, Freek; Seoane, Beatriz; Gascon, Jorge (Advanced Materials, Wiley, 2018-05-18) [Article]
    During the last decade, the synthesis and application of metal-organic framework (MOF) nanosheets has received growing interest, showing unique performances for different technological applications. Despite the potential of this type of nanolamellar materials, the synthetic routes developed so far are restricted to MOFs possessing layered structures, limiting further development in this field. Here, a bottom-up surfactant-assisted synthetic approach is presented for the fabrication of nanosheets of various nonlayered MOFs, broadening the scope of MOF nanosheets application. Surfactant-assisted preorganization of the metallic precursor prior to MOF synthesis enables the manufacture of nonlayered Al-containing MOF lamellae. These MOF nanosheets are shown to exhibit a superior performance over other crystal morphologies for both chemical sensing and gas separation. As revealed by electron microscopy and diffraction, this superior performance arises from the shorter diffusion pathway in the MOF nanosheets, whose 1D channels are oriented along the shortest particle dimension.
  • Morphology control of anatase TiO2 for well-defined surface chemistry

    Jeantelot, Gabriel; Ould-Chikh, Samy; Sofack-Kreutzer, Julien; Abou-Hamad, Edy; Anjum, Dalaver H.; Lopatin, Sergei; Harb, Moussab; Cavallo, Luigi; Basset, Jean-Marie (Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-05-16) [Article]
    A specific allotrope of titanium dioxide (anatase) was synthesized both with a standard thermodynamic morphology ({101}-anatase) and with a highly anisotropic morphology ({001}-anatase) dominated by the {001} facet (81%). The surface chemistry of both samples after dehydroxylation was studied by 1H NMR and FT-IR. The influence of surface fluorides on the surface chemistry was also studied by 1H NMR, FT-IR and DFT. Full attribution of the IR spectra of anatase with dominant {001} facets could be provided based on experimental data and further confirmed by DFT. Our results showed that chemisorbed H2O molecules are still present on anatase after dehydroxylation at 350 °C, and that the type of surface hydroxyls present on the {001} facet is dependent on the presence of fluorides. They also provided general insight into the nature of the surface species on both fluorinated and fluorine-free anatase. The use of vanadium oxychloride (VOCl3) allowed the determination of the accessibility of the various OH groups spectroscopically observed.
  • Transition-Metal-Catalyzed Decarbonylative Coupling Reactions: Concepts, Classifications, and Applications

    Guo, Lin; Rueping, Magnus (Chemistry - A European Journal, Wiley, 2018-05-14) [Article]
    Transition metal-catalyzed decarbonylative coupling reactions have emerged as a powerful alternative to conventional cross-coupling protocols due to the advantages associated with the use of carbonyl-containing functionalities as coupling electrophiles instead of commonly used organohalides or sulfates. A wide variety of novel transformations based on this concept have been successfully achieved, including decarbonylative carbon–carbon and carbon–heteroatom bond forming reactions. In this Review, we summarize the recent progress in this field and present a comprehensive overview of metal-catalyzed decarbonylative coupling reactions with carbonyl derivatives.
  • Isolated Fe sites in Metal Organic Framework catalyze the direct conversion of methane to methanol

    Osadchii, Dmitrii; Olivos Suarez, Alma Itzel; Szécsényi, Ágnes; Li, Guanna; Nasalevich, Maxim A.; Dugulan, A Iulian; Serra-Crespo, Pablo; Hensen, Emiel J. M.; Veber, Sergey L.; Fedin, Matvey V.; Sankar, Gopinathan; Pidko, Evgeny A; Gascon, Jorge (ACS Catalysis, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-10) [Article]
    Hybrid materials bearing organic and inorganic motives have been extensively discussed as playgrounds for the implementation of atomically resolved inorganic sites within a confined environment, with an exciting similarity to enzymes. Here, we present the successful design of a site-isolated mixed-metal Metal Organic Framework that mimics the reactivity of soluble methane monooxygenase enzyme reactivity and demonstrates the potential of this strategy to overcome current challenges in selective methane oxidation. We describe the synthesis and characterisation of an Fe-containing MOF that comprises the desired antiferromagnetically cou-pled high spin species in a coordination environment closely resembling that of the enzyme. An electrochemi-cal synthesis method is used to build the microporous MOF matrix while integrating, with an exquisite con-trol, the atomically dispersed Fe active sites in the crystalline scaffold. The model mimics the catalytic C-H activation behaviour of the enzyme to produce methanol, and shows that the key to this reactivity is the for-mation of isolated oxo-bridged Fe units.
  • Cross-Coupling of Amides with Alkylboranes via Nickel-Catalyzed C–N Bond Cleavage

    Liu, Xiangqian; Hsiao, Chien-Chi; Guo, Lin; Rueping, Magnus (Organic Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-09) [Article]
    A protocol for the nickel-catalyzed alkylation of amides was established. The use of alkylboranes as nucleophilic partners allowed the use of mild reaction conditions and compatibility of various functional groups with respect to both coupling partners. The catalytic alkylation proceeded selectively at the amides in the presence of other functional groups as well as other carboxylic acid derived moieties.
  • Dimerization of Terminal Aryl Alkynes Catalyzed by Iron(II) Amine-Pyrazolyl Tripodal Complexes with E/Z Selectivity Controlled by tert-Butoxide

    Xue, Fei; Song, Xiaolu; Lin, Ting Ting; Munkerup, Kristin; Albawardi, Saad Fahad; Huang, Kuo-Wei; Hor, T. S. Andy; Zhao, Jin (ACS Omega, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-09) [Article]
    The catalytic activity of iron(II) complexes with functionalized amine-pyrazolyl tripodal ligands toward dimerization of terminal alkynes in the presence a base (KOtBu or NaOtBu) has been studied. An unusual E/Z selectivity of the reaction determined by tert-butoxide was observed.
  • Manganese Catalyzed Regioselective C–H Alkylation: Experiment and Computation

    Wang, Chengming; Maity, Bholanath; Cavallo, Luigi; Rueping, Magnus (Organic Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-08) [Article]
    A new efficient manganese-catalyzed selective C2-alkylation of indoles via carbenoid insertion has been achieved. The newly developed C-H functionalization protocol provides access to diverse products and shows good functional group tolerance. Mechanistic and computational studies support the formation of a Mn(CO)3 acetate complex as the catalytically active species.
  • Constructing Bridges between Computational Tools in Heterogeneous and Homogeneous Catalysis

    Falivene, Laura; Kozlov, Sergey M.; Cavallo, Luigi (ACS Catalysis, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-08) [Article]
    Better catalysts are needed to address numerous challenges faced by humanity. In this perspective, we review concepts and tools in theoretical and computational chemistry that can help to accelerate the rational design of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts. In particular, we focus on the following three topics: 1) identification of key intermediates and transition states in a reaction using the energetic span model, 2) disentanglement of factors influencing the relative stability of the key species using energy decomposition analysis and the activation strain model, and 3) discovery of new catalysts using volcano relationships. To facilitate wider use of these techniques across different areas, we illustrate their potentials and pitfalls when applied to the study of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts.
  • Multiple Hydrogen-Bond Activation in Asymmetric Brønsted Acid Catalysis

    Liao, Hsuan-Hung; Hsiao, Chien-Chi; Atodiresei, Iuliana; Rueping, Magnus (Chemistry - A European Journal, Wiley, 2018-05-03) [Article]
    An efficient protocol for the asymmetric synthesis of chiral tetrahydroquinolines bearing multiple stereogenic centers by means of asymmetric Brønsted acid catalysis was developed. A chiral 1,1′-spirobiindane-7,7′-diol (SPINOL)-based N-triflylphosphoramide (NTPA) proved to be an effective Brønsted acid catalyst for the in situ generation of aza-ortho-quinone methides (aza-o-QMs) and their subsequent cycloaddition reaction with unactivated alkenes to provide the products with excellent diastereo- and enantioselectivities. In addition, DFT calculations provided insight into the activation mode and nature of the interactions between the N-triflylphosphoramide catalyst and the generated aza-o-QMs.
  • Inversion symmetry and bulk Rashba effect in methylammonium lead iodide perovskite single crystals

    Frohna, Kyle; Deshpande, Tejas; Harter, John; Peng, Wei; Barker, Bradford A.; Neaton, Jeffrey B.; Louie, Steven G.; Bakr, Osman; Hsieh, David; Bernardi, Marco (Nature Communications, Springer Nature, 2018-05-02) [Article]
    Methylammonium lead iodide perovskite (MAPbI3) exhibits long charge carrier lifetimes that are linked to its high efficiency in solar cells. Yet, the mechanisms governing these unusual carrier dynamics are not completely understood. A leading hypothesis-disproved in this work-is that a large, static bulk Rashba effect slows down carrier recombination. Here, using second harmonic generation rotational anisotropy measurements on MAPbI3 crystals, we demonstrate that the bulk structure of tetragonal MAPbI3 is centrosymmetric with I4/mcm space group. Our calculations show that a significant Rashba splitting in the bandstructure requires a non-centrosymmetric lead iodide framework, and that incorrect structural relaxations are responsible for the previously predicted large Rashba effect. The small Rashba splitting allows us to compute effective masses in excellent agreement with experiment. Our findings rule out the presence of a large static Rashba effect in bulk MAPbI3, and our measurements find no evidence of dynamic Rashba effects.
  • Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) production in an integrated electromicrobial setup: Investigation under stress-inducing conditions

    Al Rowaihi, Israa Salem; Paillier, Alexis; Rasul, Shahid; Karan, Ram; Grötzinger, Stefan Wolfgang; Takanabe, Kazuhiro; Eppinger, Jörg (PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2018-04-26) [Article]
    Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), a biodegradable polymer, can be produced by different microorganisms. The PHB belongs to the family of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) that mostly accumulates as a granule in the cytoplasm of microorganisms to store carbon and energy. In this study, we established an integrated one-pot electromicrobial setup in which carbon dioxide is reduced to formate electrochemically, followed by sequential microbial conversion into PHB, using the two model strains, Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 and Cupriavidus necator H16. This setup allows to investigate the influence of different stress conditions, such as coexisting electrolysis, relatively high salinity, nutrient limitation, and starvation, on the production of PHB. The overall PHB production efficiency was analyzed in reasonably short reaction cycles typically as short as 8 h. As a result, the PHB formation was detected with C. necator H16 as a biocatalyst only when the electrolysis was operated in the same solution. The specificity of the source of PHB production is discussed, such as salinity, electricity, concurrent hydrogen production, and the possible involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS).
  • Understanding of the structure activity relationship of PtPd bimetallic catalysts prepared by surface organometallic chemistry and ion exchange during the reaction of iso-butane with hydrogen

    Al-Shareef, Reem A.; Harb, Moussab; Saih, Youssef; Ould-Chikh, Samy; Roldan, Manuel A.; Anjum, Dalaver H.; Guyonnet, Elodie Bile; Candy, Jean-Pierre; Jan, Deng-Yang; Abdo, Suheil F.; Aguilar-Tapia, Antonio; Proux, Olivier; Hazemann, Jean-Louis; Basset, Jean-Marie (Journal of Catalysis, Elsevier BV, 2018-04-25) [Article]
    Well-defined silica supported bimetallic catalysts Pt100-x Pdx were prepared by Surface Organometallic Chemistry (SOMC) and Ionic-Exchange (IE) methods. For all investigated catalysts, iso-butane reaction with hydrogen under differential conditions led to the formation of methane and propane, n-butane, and traces of iso-butylene. The total reaction rate decreased with increasing the Pd loading for both catalysts series as a result of decreasing turnover rate of both isomerization and hydrogenolysis. In the case of Pt100-x Pdx(SOMC) catalysts, the experimental results in combination with DFT calculations suggested a selective coverage of Pt (1 0 0) surface by agglomerated Pd atoms like “islands”, assuming that each metal roughly keeps its intrinsic catalytic properties with relatively small electron transfer from Pt to Pd in the case of Pt-rich sample and from Pd to Pt in the case of Pd-rich sample. For the PtPd catalysts prepared by IE, the catalytic behavior could be explained by the formation of a surface alloy between Pt and Pd in the case of Pd-rich sample and by the segregation of a small amount of Pd on the surface in the case of Pt-rich sample, as demonstrated by TEM, EXAFS and DFT. The catalytic results were explained by a structure activity relationship based on the proposed mechanism of CH bond and CC bond activation and cleavage for iso-butane hydrogenolysis, isomerization, cracking and dehydrogenation.
  • Multidirection Piezoelectricity in Mono- and Multilayered Hexagonal α-In2Se3

    Xue, Fei; Zhang, Junwei; Hu, Weijin; Hsu, Wei-Ting; Han, Ali; Leung, Siu; Huang, Jing-Kai; Wan, Yi; Liu, Shuhai; Zhang, Junli; He, Jr-Hau; Chang, Wen-Hao; Wang, Zhong Lin; Zhang, Xixiang; Li, Lain-Jong (ACS Nano, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-04-25) [Article]
    Piezoelectric materials have been widely used for sensors, actuators, electronics, and energy conversion. Two-dimensional (2D) ultrathin semiconductors, such as monolayer h-BN and MoS2 with their atom-level geometry, are currently emerging as new and attractive members of the piezoelectric family. However, their piezoelectric polarization is commonly limited to the in-plane direction of odd-number ultrathin layers, largely restricting their application in integrated nanoelectromechanical systems. Recently, theoretical calculations have predicted the existence of out-of-plane and in-plane piezoelectricity in monolayer α-In2Se3. Here, we experimentally report the coexistence of out-of-plane and in-plane piezoelectricity in monolayer to bulk α-In2Se3, attributed to their noncentrosymmetry originating from the hexagonal stacking. Specifically, the corresponding d33 piezoelectric coefficient of α-In2Se3 increases from 0.34 pm/V (monolayer) to 5.6 pm/V (bulk) without any odd-even effect. In addition, we also demonstrate a type of α-In2Se3-based flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator as an energy-harvesting cell and electronic skin. The out-of-plane and in-plane piezoelectricity in α-In2Se3 flakes offers an opportunity to enable both directional and nondirectional piezoelectric devices to be applicable for self-powered systems and adaptive and strain-tunable electronics/optoelectronics.
  • A Rational Electrode-Electrolyte Design for Efficient Ammonia Electrosynthesis under Ambient Conditions

    Suryanto, Bryan Harry Rahmat; Kang, Colin Suk Mo; Wang, Dabin; Xiao, Changlong; Zhou, Fengling; Azofra, Luis Miguel; Cavallo, Luigi; Zhang, Xinyi; Macfarlane, Douglas R. (ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-04-25) [Article]
    Renewable energy driven ammonia electrosynthesis by N2 reduction reaction (NRR) at ambient conditions is vital for the sustainability of the global population and energy demand. However, NRR under ambient conditions to date has been plagued with low yield rate and selectivity (<10%) due to the more favourable hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in aqueous media. Herein, surface area enhanced α-Fe nanorods grown on carbon fibre paper was used as a NRR cathode in an aprotic fluorinated solvent – ionic liquid mixture. Through this design, a significantly enhanced NRR activity with NH3 yield rate of ~2.35 × 10-11 mol s-1 cmGSA-2, (3.71 × 10-13 mol s-1 cmECSA-2) and selectivity of ~32% has been achieved under ambient conditions. This study reveals that the use of hydrophobic fluorinated aprotic electrolyte effectively limits the availability of protons and thus suppresses the competing HER. Therefore, electrode-electrolyte engineering is essential in advancing the NH3 electrosynthesis technology.
  • Unraveling the role of entropy in tuning unimolecular vs . bimolecular reaction rates: The case of olefin polymerization catalyzed by transition metals

    Falivene, Laura; Barone, Vincenzo; Talarico, Giovanni (Molecular Catalysis, Elsevier BV, 2018-04-24) [Article]
    Olefin polymerization catalyzed by Group 4 transition metals is studied here as test case to reveal the entropy effects when bimolecular and unimolecular reactions are computed for processes occurring in solution. Catalytic systems characterized by different ligand frameworks, metal, and growing polymeric chain for which experimental data are available have been selected in order to validate the main approaches to entropy calculation. Applying the “standard” protocol results in a strong disagreement with the experimental results and the methods introducing a direct correction of the translational entropy term based on a single experimental parameter emerge as the most reliable. The general and powerful computational tool achieved in this study can represent a further step towards the “catalyst design” to control and predict the molecular mass of the resulting polymers.
  • Controlled formation of iron carbides and their performance in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis

    Wezendonk, Tim A.; Sun, Xiaohui; Dugulan, A. Iulian; van Hoof, Arno J.F.; Hensen, Emiel J.M.; Kapteijn, Freek; Gascon, Jorge (Journal of Catalysis, Elsevier BV, 2018-04-19) [Article]
    Iron carbides are unmistakably associated with the active phase for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS). The formation of these carbides is highly dependent on the catalyst formulation, the activation method and the operational conditions. Because of this highly dynamic behavior, studies on active phase performance often lack the direct correlation between catalyst performance and iron carbide phase. For the above reasons, an extensive in situ Mössbauer spectroscopy study on highly dispersed Fe on carbon catalysts (Fe@C) produced through pyrolysis of a Metal Organic Framework was coupled to their FTS performance testing. The preparation of Fe@C catalysts via this MOF mediated synthesis allows control over the active phase formation and therefore provides an ideal model system to study the performance of different iron carbides. Reduction of fresh Fe@C followed by low-temperature Fischer-Tropsch (LTFT) conditions resulted in the formation of the ε′-Fe2.2C, whereas carburization of the fresh catalysts under high-temperature Fischer-Tropsch (HTFT) resulted in the formation of χ-Fe5C2. Furthermore, the different activation methods did not alter other important catalyst properties, as pre- and post-reaction transmission electron microscopy (TEM) characterization confirmed that the iron nanoparticle dispersion was preserved. The weight normalized activities (FTY) of χ-Fe5C2 and ε′-Fe2.2C are virtually identical, whilst it is found that ε′-Fe2.2C is a better hydrogenation catalyst than χ-Fe5C2. The absence of differences under subsequent HTFT experiments, where χ-Fe5C2 is the dominating phase, is a strong indication that the iron carbide phase is responsible for the differences in selectivity.

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