Atomistic level mechanism of CO2 adsorption in n-ethylethylenediamine-functionalized M2(dobpdc) metal-organic frameworks

Li Ming Yang, Hui Zhang, Hui Pan, Eric Ganz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We, for the first time, unveil the underlying mechanism of CO2 adsorption in Nethylethylenediamine (e-2) functionalized M2(dobpdc) (M = Mg, Sc-Zn) metal-organic frameworks using van der Waals (vdW) corrected density functional theory (DFT-D3) calculations. Our results show that the e-2 molecule strongly interacts with M2(dobpdc) through its primary amine. The binding energies between e-2 molecule and M2(dobpdc) series range from 127 to 175 kJ/mol for different metals. Besides the experimentally synthesized structure, we unexpectedly discovered a novel configuration of CO2-e-2-M2(dobpdc) with 0.34-0.48 eV energy lower than the experimental one. For the experimental configurations, the CO2 binding energies are in the range of 41-76 kJ/mol. Systematic investigations indicate that the adsorption mechanism includes two important steps in the reaction pathway. In the first step, CO2 is added nucleophilically into the metal-bound amine forming a zwitterion intermediate with proton transfer, which is the rate-determining step with energy barriers ranging from 0.99 to 1.48 eV for different metals. The second step is the rearrangement of the zwitterion intermediates to form ammonium carbamate, which is relatively easy with low barriers (<0.50 eV). The large heat released by this exothermic reaction, and the very low barrier of the second step causes the reaction to proceed rapidly at process temperatures. This results in large CO2 adsorption capacities of e-2-M2(dobpdc) with unusual step-shaped isotherms. This study for the first time provides detailed analysis of the pathways for this complicated CO2 capture process. This solid evidence for the chemical evolution will provide fundamental understanding on the atomic scale reaction mechanism of CO2 adsorption and shed insights on design and synthesis of novel and efficient adsorbent materials for CO2 capture, and promote the experimental efforts in this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6337-6345
Number of pages9
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 7 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
H.Z. and L.-M.Y. gratefully acknowledge support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21673087, 21873032, 22073033, 21903032), startup fund (2006013118 and 3004013105) from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2019kfyRCPY116). H. P. gratefully acknowledge support by Science and Technology Development Fund from Macau SAR (FDCT-0102/2019/A2) and Multi-Year Research Grants (MYRG2018-00003-IAPME and MYRG2017-00027-FST) from the Research & Development Office at the University of Macau. The authors thank the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at the University of Minnesota for supercomputing resources. The work was also carried out at the LvLiang Cloud Computing Center of China, and some calculations were performed on TianHe-2.


Dive into the research topics of 'Atomistic level mechanism of CO2 adsorption in n-ethylethylenediamine-functionalized M2(dobpdc) metal-organic frameworks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this