We found from DFT calculations that Ag-Ag orbital interactions as well as Ag-O electrostatic interactions determine the structures of three silver cations inside a nanometer-sized cavity of ZSM-5 (Ag3-ZSM-5) in lower and higher spin states. Both interactions strongly depend on the number of Al atoms substituted for Si atoms on the ZSM-5 framework (ZSM-5(Aln)), where n ranges from 1 to 3. In smaller n, stronger Ag-Ag orbital interactions and weaker Ag-O electrostatic interactions operate. Accordingly, there are significant dependencies of the structures of three silver cations on the number of Al atoms. In lower spin states of Ag3-ZSM-5(Al1) and Ag3-ZSM-5(Al2), D3h-like triangle clusters are contained inside ZSM-5 whereas their higher spin states have triangle clusters distorted significantly from the D3h structure. In lower spin states, the totally symmetric orbital consisting of 5s(Ag) orbitals is responsible for cluster formation, whereas in higher spin states occupation of a 5s(Ag)-based orbital with one node results in significant distortion of the triangle clusters. The distortion can be partially understood by analogies to Jahn-Teller distortion of the bare D3h Ag3+ cluster in the triplet spin state. When n is 3, we found that three silver cations are isolated in a lower spin state and that a linear cluster consisting of two silver cations is formed in a higher spin state. Thus, we demonstrate from DFT calculations that the number of Al atoms can control the properties of three silver cations inside a ZSM-5 cavity. Since the structural and electronic features of the enclosed silver clusters can link to their catalytic properties, the DFT findings can help us to understand the catalytic activity of Ag-ZSM-5.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry