Synthesis of a Specified, Silica Molecular Sieve by Using Computationally Predicted Organic Structure-Directing Agents


  • We would like to thank the Chevron Energy and Technology Company for providing funding for this work. J.E.S. would like to thank the NDSEG for their support through a fellowship. M.W.D would like to thank the US Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences grant DE-FG02-03ER15456.


Crystalline molecular sieves are used in numerous applications, where the properties exploited for each technology are the direct consequence of structural features. New materials are typically discovered by trial and error, and in many cases, organic structure-directing agents (OSDAs) are used to direct their formation. Here, we report the first successful synthesis of a specified molecular sieve through the use of an OSDA that was predicted from a recently developed computational method that constructs chemically synthesizable OSDAs. Pentamethylimidazolium is computationally predicted to have the largest stabilization energy in the STW framework, and is experimentally shown to strongly direct the synthesis of pure-silica STW. Other OSDAs with lower stabilization energies did not form STW. The general method demonstrated here to create STW may lead to new, simpler OSDAs for existing frameworks and provide a way to predict OSDAs for desired, theoretical frameworks.