Developing the Molecular Modelling of Diffusion in Zeolites as a High Throughput Catalyst Screening Technique

Author(s): Ramesh Ch. Deka, Rajappan Vetrivel

Journal Name: Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening
Accelerated Technologies for Biotechnology, Bioassays, Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products Research

Volume 6 , Issue 1 , 2003

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Molecular modelling techniques have been used to screen zeolite catalysts for their suitability for organic synthesis. For example, we have used these techniques to study the alkylation of aromatic molecules which are important in the fine-chemical and drug industries. A survey of all such efforts is reviewed in this article. The application of molecular modelling techniques in a systematic manner is an efficient first step in the design of zeolite catalysts. As a qualitative screening tool, molecular graphics is used to visualize how well the reactant and product molecules fit inside the pores of the zeolites. Using a hybrid of several molecular modelling methods, which combines molecular dynamics (MD) and Monte Carlo methods with energy minimization, it is possible to determine the minimum energy locations of the molecules inside the zeolites cages. The minimum energy configurations determined by this hybrid method are taken as a starting point for diffusion of the molecules through the zeolite channels. When a molecule is allowed to diffuse through zeolite channel, the molecule attains some maxima and minima in its diffusion energy profile. From the differences between a maximum and a minimum energy configuration, the diffusion energy barrier for the molecule can be calculated in the zeolites. By comparing the diffusion energy barriers for various isomers of a molecule in different zeolites, it is possible to find out the most suitable zeolite for achieving the required shape-selectivity. In addition, factors influencing the diffusivity of the molecules and consequently the shape selectivity are derived. The list of factors and their relative importance are analysed to derive valuable guidelines to design shape-selective zeolite catalysts for a given reaction. Thus, the ultimate aim of these studies is to develop a high throughput computational screening process for the selection of shape-selective zeolite catalysts for various reactions. The dynamic behaviour of molecules inside the pores of zeolites can be studied using MD methods. Since MD is computationally time consuming, it is more efficient to screen the possible zeolite catalysts by energy minimization methods and then perform MD in specific zeolites. More accurate values of diffusivity of the molecules can be calculated using MD methods, and these values can be correlated with the shape-selectivity observed experimentally and / or derived from diffusion energy barrier calculations.

Keywords: molecular modeling, diffusion, zeolites, high throughput catalyst screening

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Article Details

Year: 2003
Page: [1 - 9]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/1386207033329878

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