Molecular rhodium complexes supported on the metal-oxide-like nodes of metal organic frameworks and on zeolite HY: Catalysts for ethylene hydrogenation and dimerization

Varinia Bernales, Dong Yang, Jun Yu, Gamze Gümüşlu, Chris Cramer, Bruce C. Gates, Laura Gagliardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with nodes consisting of zirconium oxide clusters (Zr6) offer new opportunities as supports for catalysts with well-defined, essentially molecular, structures. We used the precursor Rh(C2H4)2(acac) (acac is acetylacetonate) to anchor Rh(I) complexes to the nodes of the MOF UiO-67 and, for comparison, to the zeolite dealuminated HY (DAY). These were characterized experimentally by measurement of catalytic activities and selectivities for ethylene hydrogenation and dimerization in a once-through flow reactor at 298 K and 1 bar. The catalyst performance data are complemented with structural information determined by infrared and extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopies and by calculations at the level of density functional theory, the latter carried out also to extend the investigation to a related MOF, NU-1000. The agreement between the experimental and calculated structural metrics is good, and the calculations have led to predictions of reaction mechanisms and associated energetics. The data demonstrate a correlation between the catalytic activity and selectivity and the electron-donor tendency of the supported rhodium (as measured by the frequencies of CO ligands bonded as probes to the Rh(I) centers), which is itself a measure of the electron-donor tendency of the support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33511-33520
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 4 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Professors Omar K. Farha and Joseph T. Hupp and Dr. Manuel A. Ortuño and Dr. Andreas Mavrandonakis for helpful discussions. This work was supported as part of the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (DESC0012702). We gratefully acknowledge beam time at Beamline 2-2 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light-source supported by the DOE Division of Materials Sciences under Contract DE-AC02-76SF00515. We thank the beamline scientists, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Syed Khalid, for valuable support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • Density functional theory
  • Ethylene dimerization
  • Ethylene hydrogenation
  • Metal-organic framework nodes
  • Rhodium complexes
  • Supported catalyst


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular rhodium complexes supported on the metal-oxide-like nodes of metal organic frameworks and on zeolite HY: Catalysts for ethylene hydrogenation and dimerization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this