A Solid-State NMR Method for Solution of Zeolite Crystal Structures
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Since zeolites are notoriously difficult to prepare as large single crystals, structure determination usually relies on powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). However, structure solution (i.e., deriving an initial structural model) directly from powder XRD data is often very difficult due to the diffraction phase problem and the high degree of overlap between the individual reflections, particularly for materials with the structural complexity of most zeolites. Here, we report a method for structure determination of zeolite crystal structures that combines powder XRD and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in which the crucial step of structure solution is achieved using solid-state (29)Si double-quantum dipolar recoupling NMR, which probes the distance-dependent dipolar interactions between naturally abundant (29)Si nuclei in the zeolite framework. For two purely siliceous zeolite blind test samples, we demonstrate that the NMR data can be combined with the unit cell parameters and space group to solve structural models that refine successfully against the powder XRD data.
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