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Complex zeolite structure solved by combining powder diffraction and electron microscopy

Naturevolume 444pages7981 (2006) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Many industrially important materials, ranging from ceramics to catalysts to pharmaceuticals, are polycrystalline and cannot be grown as single crystals. This means that non-conventional methods of structure analysis must be applied to obtain the structural information that is fundamental to the understanding of the properties of these materials. Electron microscopy might appear to be a natural approach, but only relatively simple structures have been solved by this route. Powder diffraction is another obvious option, but the overlap of reflections with similar diffraction angles causes an ambiguity in the relative intensities of those reflections. Various ways of overcoming or circumventing this problem have been developed1,2, and several of these involve incorporating chemical information into the structure determination process3,4,5,6,7. For complex zeolite structures, the FOCUS algorithm8,9 has proved to be effective. Because it operates in both real and reciprocal space, phase information obtained from high-resolution transmission electron microscopy images can be incorporated directly into this algorithm in a simple way. Here we show that by doing so, the complexity limit can be extended much further. The power of this approach has been demonstrated with the solution of the structure of the zeolite TNU-9 (|H9.3|[Al9.3Si182.7O384]; ref. 10) with 24 topologically distinct (Si,Al) atoms and 52 such O atoms. For comparison, ITQ-22 (ref. 11), the most complex zeolite known to date, has 16 topologically distinct (Si,Ge) atoms.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the beamline scientists at SRS, Daresbury, and A. Fitch at the ESRF, Grenoble, for their assistance with the powder diffraction measurements. Funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (L.B.M, C.B., F.G.), the Swedish Science Research Council and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (T.O., O.T.), and the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (S.B.H.) is acknowledged. Author Contributions F.G., C.B. and L.B.M. performed the data analysis and structure solution; S.J.W. and P.A.W. collected the synchrotron powder diffraction data and coordinated the project; Z.L., T.O. and O.T. obtained the HRTEM images; and B.H and S.B.H. synthesized and characterised TNU-9.

Author information

Author notes

    • Tetsu Ohsuna

    Present address: Department of Applied Chemistry, Waseda University, Ohkubo-3, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 169-8555, Japan

Affiliations

  1. Laboratory of Crystallography, ETH Zurich, 8093, Zurich, Switzerland

    • Fabian Gramm
    • , Christian Baerlocher
    •  & Lynne B. McCusker
  2. School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9ST, UK

    • Stewart J. Warrender
    •  & Paul A. Wright
  3. Division of Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology, Hanbat National University, Taejon, 305-719, Korea

    • Bada Han
    •  & Suk Bong Hong
  4. Arrhenius Laboratory, Stockholm University, 10691, Stockholm, Sweden

    • Zheng Liu
    • , Tetsu Ohsuna
    •  & Osamu Terasaki
  5. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 3058565, Japan

    • Zheng Liu
  6. Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 3058565

    • Zheng Liu

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Competing interests

Reprints and permissions information is available at www.nature.com/reprints. The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lynne B. McCusker.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Data

    Crystallographic data for H-TNU-9 in cif format. (TXT 7 kb)

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05200

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