Abstract

Zeolites are porous aluminosilicate materials that have found applications in many different technologies. However, although simulations suggest that there are millions of possible zeolite topologies, only a little over 200 zeolite frameworks of all compositions are currently known, of which about 50 are pure silica materials. This is known as the zeolite conundrum—why have so few of all the possible structures been made? Several criteria have been formulated to explain why most zeolites are unfeasible synthesis targets. Here we demonstrate the synthesis of two such ‘unfeasible’ zeolites, IPC-9 and IPC-10, through the assembly–disassembly–organization–reassembly mechanism. These new high-silica zeolites have rare characteristics, such as windows that comprise odd-membered rings. Their synthesis opens up the possibility of preparing other zeolites that have not been accessible by traditional solvothermal synthetic methods. We envisage that these findings may lead to a step change in the number and types of zeolites available for future applications.

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Acknowledgements

R.E.M. thanks the Royal Society and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grants EP/L014475/1, EP/K025112/1 and EP/K005499/1) for funding work in this area. J.Č. and P.N. acknowledge the Czech Science Foundation for the project of the Centre of Excellence (P106/12/G015) and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/ 2007–2013) under Grant Agreement No. 604307. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement No. 312483—ESTEEM2 (Integrated Infrastructure Initiative–I3). W.J.R. thanks his current institution, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Faculty of Chemistry. We thank W. Zhou and F. Yu for their expertise in TEM and D. Dawson for help with NMR spectroscopy.

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Affiliations

  1. J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Dolejškova 3, 182 23 Prague 8, Czech Republic

    • Michal Mazur
    • , Wieslaw J. Roth
    • , Pavla Eliášová
    •  & Jiří Čejka
  2. EaStCHEM School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9ST, UK

    • Paul S. Wheatley
    • , Marta Navarro
    •  & Russell E. Morris
  3. Department of Physical and Macromolecular Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Hlavova 8, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic

    • Miroslav Položij
    •  & Petr Nachtigall
  4. Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (LMA), Nanoscience Institute of Aragon (INA), University of Zaragoza, Mariano Esquillor, Edificio I+D, Zaragoza 50018, Spain

    • Alvaro Mayoral

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Contributions

M.M., P.E. and W.J.R. completed the synthesis aspects of the work and P.S.W. coordinated the characterization of the prepared materials. M.P. completed the computational modelling under the supervision of P.N. M.N. and A.M. completed the aberration-corrected electron microscopy studies. J.Č. and R.E.M. coordinated the project as a whole and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jiří Čejka or Russell E. Morris.

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    Crystallographic data for compound IPC9

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    Crystallographic data for compound IPC10

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2374

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