Site-directed cation ordering in chabazite-type AlxGa1–xPO4-34 frameworks revealed by NMR crystallography

Daniel M. Dawson*, Jasmine Clayton, Thomas Marshall, Nathalie Guillou, Richard Walton*, Sharon E. Ashbrook*

*Corresponding author for this work

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We report the first synthesis of the mixed-metal chabazite-type AlxGa1–xPO4-34(mim) solid solution, containing 1- methylimidazolium, mim, as structure directing agent (SDA), from the parent mixed-metal oxide solid solution, γ-(AlxGa1– x)2O3. This hitherto unreported family of materials exhibits complex disorder, arising from the possible distributions of cations over available sites, the orientation of the SDA and the presence of variable amounts of water, which provides a prototype for understanding structural subtleties in nanoporous materials. In the as-made forms of the phosphate frameworks, there are three crystallographically distinct metal sites: two tetrahedral MO4 and one octahedral MO4F2 (M = Al, Ga). A combination of solid-state NMR spectroscopy and periodic DFT calculations reveal that the octahedral site is preferentially occupied by Al and the tetrahedral sites by Ga, leading to a non-random distribution of cations within the framework. Upon calcination to the AlxGa1–xPO4-34 framework, all metal sites are tetrahedral and crystallographically equivalent in the average R3 symmetry. The cation distribution was explored by 31P solid-state NMR spectroscopy, and it is shown that the non-random distribution demonstrated to exist in the as-made materials would be expected to give remarkably similar patterns of peak intensities to a random distribution owing to the change in average symmetry in the calcined materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4374-4385
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Science
Issue number12
Early online date14 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2024


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