Michael Fayer, Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
- Molecular design for electrolyte solvents enabling energy-dense and long-cycling lithium metal batteries NATURE ENERGY 2020
Effects of pore size on water dynamics in mesoporous silica.
The Journal of chemical physics
2020; 152 (15): 154704
Water confined in mesoporous silica plays a central role in its many uses ranging from gas sorption to nanoconfined chemical reactions. Here, the influence of pore diameter (2.5-5.4 nm) on water hydrogen bond (H-bond) dynamics in MCM41 and SBA15 mesoporous silicas is investigated using femtosecond infrared vibrational spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations on selenocyanate (SeCN-) anions dissolved in the pores. As shown recently, SeCN- spectral diffusion is a reliable probe of surrounding water H-bond structural motions. Additionally, the long CN stretch vibrational lifetime facilitates measurement of the full range of confined dynamics, which are much slower than in bulk water. The simulations shed light on quantitative details that are inaccessible from the spatially averaged observables. The dependence of SeCN- orientational relaxation and that of spectral diffusion on the distance from the silica interface are quantitatively described with an exponential decay and a smoothed step-function, respectively. The distance-dependence of both quantities is found to be independent of the diameter of the pores, and the spatial distribution of SeCN- is markedly non-uniform, reaching a maximum between the interface and the pore center. The results indicate that the commonly invoked two-state, or core-shell, model is a more appropriate description of spectral diffusion. Using these insights, we model the full time-dependence of the measured dynamics for all pore sizes and extract the "core" and "shell" dynamical correlation functions and SeCN- spatial probability distributions. The results are critically compared to those for water confined in reverse micelles.
View details for DOI 10.1063/1.5145326
View details for PubMedID 32321257
Enhanced Menshutkin SN2 Reactivity in Mesoporous Silica: The Influence of Surface Catalysis and Confinement.
Journal of the American Chemical Society
A significant enhancement in the Menshutkin SN2 reaction between 1-methylimidazole (MeIm) and methyl thiocyanate (MeSCN) is observed when the reaction is confined in the nanoscale silica pores of MCM41 and SBA15. The experiments in the silica pores are conducted without the surrounding bulk reaction mixture. The influences of temperature, pore radius, and surface chemistry on the kinetics of the confined reaction are analyzed with time-dependent infrared spectroscopy, molecular dynamics simulations, and ab initio calculations. The rate constant of the pseudo-first order reaction increases with decreasing pore size, and the activation energy is found to decrease by 5.6 kJ/mol in the smallest pore studied (2.8 nm) relative to the bulk reaction. The rate constant dependence on pore size is accurately described by a two-state model in which molecules within the 4.6 A interfacial layer experience a 2.4-fold rate constant increase relative to those reacting at the bulk rate further away from the interface. The removal of polar silanol groups from the silica surface via passivation with trimethylsilyl chloride results in bulk-like kinetics despite a reduction in the pore diameter, demonstrating the role of silanols as catalytic sites. Electronic structure calculations of the energy profile on a model silica surface confirm that silanol groups, particularly those of the vicinal type, can reduce the activation energy and reaction endothermicity through the donation of hydrogen bonds to the reactant, transition state, and product complexes.
View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.9b12666
View details for PubMedID 32077695
Imidazole and 1-Methylimidazole Hydrogen Bonding and Nonhydrogen Bonding Liquid Dynamics: Ultrafast IR Experiments.
The journal of physical chemistry. B
The dynamics of imidazole (IM) and 1-methylimidazole (1-MeIM) in the liquid phase at 95 °C were studied by IR polarization selective pump-probe and two-dimensional IR (2D IR) spectroscopies. The two molecules are very similar structurally except that IM can be simultaneously a hydrogen bond donor and acceptor and therefore forms extended hydrogen-bonded networks. The broader IR absorption spectrum and a shorter vibrational lifetime of the vibrational probe, selenocyanate anion (SeCN-), in IM vs 1-MeIM indicate that stronger hydrogen bonding exists between SeCN- and IM. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations support the strong hydrogen bond formation between SeCN- and IM via the HN moiety. SeCN- makes two H-bonds with IM; it is inserted in the IM H-bonded chains rather than being a chain terminator. The strong hydrogen bonding influenced the reorientation dynamics of SeCN- in IM, leading to a more restricted short time angular sampling (wobbling-in-a-cone). The complete orientational diffusion time in IM is 1.7 times slower than in 1-MeIM, but the slow down is less than expected, considering the 3-fold larger viscosity of IM. The jump reorientation mechanism accounts for the anomalously fast orientational relaxation in IM, and the MD simulations determined the average jump angle of the probe between hydrogen bonding sites. Spectral diffusion time constants obtained from the 2D IR experiments are only modestly slower in IM than in 1-MeIM in spite of the significant increase in viscosity. The results indicate that the spectral diffusion sensed by the SeCN- has IM hydrogen bond dynamics contributions not present in 1-MeIM.
View details for PubMedID 30727725