(632a) How Advancements in Theory and Experiment Enabled the Synthesis of the First Enantiomerically Enriched, Polycrystalline Molecular Sieve

Davis, M. E., California Institute of Technology
The synthesis of certain types of zeolites and zeolite-like molecular sieves can be accomplished using organic molecules that serve to direct the synthetic pathway (denoted organic structure directing agents: OSDAs). The OSDAs end up residing in what becomes the intracrystalline void space upon their removal. Over the past few decades, investigations have focused on how the OSDA can structure direct the inorganic framework, and what OSDA properties are required for them to do so. After many years of study, my coworkers and I finally synthesized the first enantiomerically enriched, polycrystalline molecular sieve. This achievement involved the use of theoretical studies of chiral OSDAs and of a chiral inorganic framework to aid in our search for the proper OSDA. In this presentation, I review some of the salient features of how OSDAs function in the synthesis of molecular sieves. Then, I discuss how theoretical studies coupled with experimental insights can lead to successful syntheses. Finally, opportunities for combining theoretical and experimental investigations for moving molecular sieve synthesis steps further towards rational design are discussed in order to stimulate future work.