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Proton Activity Inside the Channels of Zeolite L

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Abstract

The proton activity inside the channels of zeolite L has been studied by investigating dye-loaded zeolite L crystals under different conditions, such as water content, nature of the counterions, and nature of the solvent. The discussion is made within the frame of three types of dye-loaded zeolite L systems, classified according to their ability to exchange matter (dyes, cations, solvent, and other small molecules) with the environment. The classification refers to dye-loaded zeolites. The term “closed” and “semi-open” characterize different possibilities of the channels to exchange small molecules, cations, and solvent molecules with the environment, but not dyes. The “open” systems also allow for dye exchange. UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy have been used to observe the proton activity inside the zeolite L channels. The influence of the proton activity on the luminescence of encapsulated dyes is discussed, special attention being given to luminescence quenching by excited-state protonation. Partially proton-exchanged zeolite L can be a superacid, whereas for the M-exchanged form (M: K+, Li+, Cs+, Mg2+, Ca2+) the pH ranges from about 2.5 to 3.5. For these last forms, the differences in pH are due to the acid–base reactions of the respective metal cations with water inside the zeolite. Finally, we describe an easy experimental procedure that can be used to tune the proton activity inside the zeolite L to a considerable extent.

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