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Insights into the Gas Adsorption Mechanisms in Metal–Organic Frameworks from Classical Molecular Simulations

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Abstract

Classical molecular simulations can provide significant insights into the gas adsorption mechanisms and binding sites in various metal–organic frameworks (MOFs). These simulations involve assessing the interactions between the MOF and an adsorbate molecule by calculating the potential energy of the MOF–adsorbate system using a functional form that generally includes nonbonded interaction terms, such as the repulsion/dispersion and permanent electrostatic energies. Grand canonical Monte Carlo (GCMC) is the most widely used classical method that is carried out to simulate gas adsorption and separation in MOFs and identify the favorable adsorbate binding sites. In this review, we provide an overview of the GCMC methods that are normally utilized to perform these simulations. We also describe how a typical force field is developed for the MOF, which is required to compute the classical potential energy of the system. Furthermore, we highlight some of the common analysis techniques that have been used to determine the locations of the preferential binding sites in these materials. We also review some of the early classical molecular simulation studies that have contributed to our working understanding of the gas adsorption mechanisms in MOFs. Finally, we show that the implementation of classical polarization for simulations in MOFs can be necessary for the accurate modeling of an adsorbate in these materials, particularly those that contain open-metal sites. In general, molecular simulations can provide a great complement to experimental studies by helping to rationalize the favorable MOF–adsorbate interactions and the mechanism of gas adsorption.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the National Science Foundation (Award No. DMR-1607989), including support from the Major Research Instrumentation Program (Award No. CHE-1531590). B.S. also acknowledges support from an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Grant (ACS PRF 56673-ND6).

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Correspondence to Tony Pham.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection “Metal–Organic Framework: From Design to Applications”; edited by Xian-He Bu, Michael J. Zaworotko, and Zhenjie Zhang.

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Pham, T., Space, B. Insights into the Gas Adsorption Mechanisms in Metal–Organic Frameworks from Classical Molecular Simulations. Top Curr Chem (Z) 378, 14 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41061-019-0276-x

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Keywords

  • Metal–organic frameworks
  • Molecular simulation
  • Grand canonical Monte Carlo
  • Potential energy function
  • Adsorption site
  • Classical polarization