by Zhengxing Qin, Georgian Melinte, Jean-Pierre Gilson, Maguy Jaber, Krassimir Bozhilov, Philippe Boullay, Svetlana Mintova, Ovidiu Ersen and Valentin Valtchev
Angewandte Chemie, Communication doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201608417
Zeolites are widely used in many commercial processes, mostly as catalysts or adsorbents. Understanding their intimate structure at the nanoscale is the key to control their properties and design the best materials for their ever increasing uses. Herein, we report a new and controllable fluoride treatment for the non-discriminate extraction of zeolite framework cations. This sheds new light on the sub-structure of commercially relevant zeolite crystals: they are segmented along defect zones exposing numerous nanometer-sized crystalline domains, separated by low-angle boundaries, in what were apparent single-crystals. The concentration, morphology, and distribution of such domains analyzed by electron tomography indicate that this is a common phenomenon in zeolites, independent of their structure and chemical composition. This is a milestone to better understand their growth mechanism and rationally design superior catalysts and adsorbents.