The conversion of CO2 into functional materials under ambient conditions is a major challenge to realize a carbon-neutral society. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) have been extensively studied as designable porous materials. Despite the fact that CO2 is an attractive renewable resource, the synthesis of MOFs from CO2 remains unexplored. Chemical inertness of CO2 has hampered its conversion into typical MOF linkers such as carboxylates without high energy reactants and/or harsh conditions. Here, we present a one-pot conversion of CO2 into highly porous crystalline MOFs at ambient temperature and pressure. Cubic [Zn4O(piperazine dicarbamate)3] is synthesized via in situ formation of bridging dicarbamate linkers from piperazines and CO2 and shows high surface areas (∼2366 m2 g–1) and CO2 contents (>30 wt %). Whereas the dicarbamate linkers are thermodynamically unstable by themselves and readily release CO2, the formation of an extended coordination network in the MOF lattices stabilizes the linker enough to demonstrate stable permanent porosity.
Understanding the differences between reactions driven by elevated temperature or electric potential remains challenging, largely due to materials incompatibilities between thermal catalytic and electrocatalytic environments. We show that Ni, N-doped carbon (NiPACN), an electrocatalyst for the reduction of CO2 to CO (CO2R), can also selectively catalyze thermal CO2 to CO via the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) representing a direct analogy between catalytic phenomena across the two reaction environments. Advanced characterization techniques reveal that NiPACN likely facilitates RWGS on dispersed Ni sites in agreement with CO2R active site studies. Finally, we construct a generalized reaction driving-force that includes temperature and potential and suggest that NiPACN could facilitate faster kinetics in CO2R relative to RWGS due to lower intrinsic barriers. This report motivates further studies that quantitatively link catalytic phenomena across disparate reaction environments.
Nuclear fission produces 400 GWe which represents 11% of the global electricity output. Uranium is the essential element as both fission fuel and radioactive waste. Therefore, the recovery of uranium is of great importance. Here, an in situ electrolytic deposition method to extract uranium from aqueous solution is reported. A functionalized reduced graphene oxide foam (3D-FrGOF) is used as the working electrode, which acts as both a hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst and a uranium deposition substrate. The specific electrolytic deposition capacity for U(VI) ions with the 3D-FrGOF is 4560 mg g−1 without reaching saturation, and the Coulombic efficiency can reach 54%. Moreover, reduction of the uranium concentration in spiked seawater from 3 ppm to 19.9 ppb is achieved, which is lower than the US Environmental Protection Agency uranium limits for drinking water (30 ppb). Furthermore, the collection electrode can be efficiently regenerated and recycled at least nine times without much efficiency fading, by ejecting into 2000 ppm concentrated uranium solution in a second bath with reverse voltage bias. All these findings open new opportunities in using free-standing 3D-FrGOF electrode as an advanced separation technique for water treatment.
Knowledge of the oxidation state of metal centres in compounds and materials helps in the understanding of their chemical bonding and properties. Chemists have developed theories to predict oxidation states based on electron-counting rules, but these can fail to describe oxidation states in extended crystalline systems such as metal–organic frameworks. Here we propose the use of a machine-learning model, trained on assignments by chemists encoded in the chemical names in the Cambridge Structural Database, to automatically assign oxidation states to the metal ions in metal–organic frameworks. In our approach, only the immediate local environment around a metal centre is considered. We show that the strategy is robust to experimental uncertainties such as incorrect protonation, unbound solvents or changes in bond length. This method gives good accuracy and we show that it can be used to detect incorrect assignments in the Cambridge Structural Database, illustrating how collective knowledge can be captured by machine learning and converted into a useful tool.
Electrocatalytic splitting of water to oxygen and hydrogen is one of the most promising approaches for sustainable production of hydrogen as a carbon-neutral fuel. To establish efficient electrocatalytic water splitting, the overall overpotential for this reaction must be minimized via developing efficient catalysts to promote oxygen and hydrogen evolution at the anode and the cathode, respectively. However, the overpotentials for oxygen evolution are insufficiently low (162–300 mV for a current density of 10 mA cm−2), and the value less than 100 mV still remains untracked. Here, we report the unprecedentedly low of 32 mV for oxygen evolution attained by the formation of a unique motif of nickel sulfide nanowires stuffed into carbon nitride scabbards (NiSx/C3N4), demonstrating electrocatalytic water splitting at the lowest overall overpotential of 72 mV using the NiSx/C3N4 anode. This motif provides a key to guided thought for the development of efficient catalysts for oxygen evolution.
Catalytic water oxidation is a required process for clean energy production based on the concept of artificial photosynthesis. Here, we provide in situ spectroscopic and computational analysis for the closest known photosystem II analog, [Co4O4]n+ ([Co4O4Py4Ac4]0, Py = pyridine and Ac = CH3COO−), which catalyzes electrochemical water oxidation. In situ extended X-ray absorption fine structure detects an ultrashort, CoIV=O (∼1.67 Å) moiety, a crucial intermediate for O–O bond formation. Density function theory analyses show that the intermediate has two CoIV centers and a CoIV=O unit of strong radicaloid character sufficient to support a CoIV=O + H2O = Co–OOH + H+ transition, where the carboxyl ligand accepts the proton and the bridging oxygen stabilizes the peroxide via hydrogen bonding. The proposed water nucleophilic attack mechanism accounts for all prior spectroscopic evidence on the Co4O44+ core. Our results are important for the design and development of efficient water oxidation catalysts, which contribute to the ultimate goal of clean energy from artificial photosynthesis.
The authors present a new method for searching low free energy paths in complex molecular systems at finite temperature. They introduce two variables that are able to describe the position of a point in configurational space relative to a preassigned path. With the help of these two variables the authors combine features of approaches such as metadynamics or umbrella sampling with those of path based methods. This allows global searches in the space of paths to be performed and a new variational principle for the determination of low free energy paths to be established. Contrary to metadynamics or umbrella sampling the path can be described by an arbitrary large number of variables, still the energy profile along the path can be calculated. The authors exemplify the method numerically by studying the conformational changes of alanine dipeptide.
Enabling the reversible lithium metal electrode is essential for surpassing the energy content of today’s lithium-ion cells. Although lithium metal cells for niche applications have been developed already, efforts are underway to create rechargeable lithium metal batteries that can significantly advance vehicle electrification and grid energy storage. In this Perspective, we focus on three tasks to guide and further advance the reversible lithium metal electrode. First, we summarize the state of research and commercial efforts in terms of four key performance parameters, and identify additional performance parameters of interest. We then advocate for the use of limited lithium (≤30 μm) to ensure early identification of technical challenges associated with stable and dendrite-free cycling and a more rapid transition to commercially relevant designs. Finally, we provide a cost target and outline material costs and manufacturing methods that could allow lithium metal cells to reach 100 US$ kWh–1.
Computational simulation of peptide adsorption at the aqueous gold interface is key to advancing the development of many applications based on gold nanoparticles, ranging from nanomedical devices to smart biomimetic materials. Here, we present a force field, GolPCHARMM, designed to capture peptide adsorption at both the aqueous Au(111) and Au(100) interfaces. The force field,compatible with the bio-organic force field CHARMM, is parametrized using a combination of experimental and firstprinciples data. Like its predecessor, GolP (Iori, F.; et al. J. Comput. Chem. 2009, 30, 1465), this force field contains terms to describe the dynamic polarization of gold atoms, chemisorbing species, and the interaction between sp2 hybridized carbon atoms and gold. A systematic study of small molecule adsorption at both surfaces using the vdW-DF functional (Dion, M.; et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2004, 92, 246401−1. Thonhauser, T.; et al. Phys. Rev. B 2007, 76, 125112) is carried out to fit and test force field parameters and also, for the first time, gives unique insights into facet selectivity of gold binding in vacuo. Energetic and spatial trends observed in our DFT calculations are reproduced by the force field under the same conditions. Finally, we use the new force field to calculate adsorption energies, under aqueous conditions, for a representative set of amino acids. These data are found to agree with experimental findings.