Intrinsic Flexibility of the EMT Zeolite Framework Under Pressure

The roles of organic additives in the assembly and crystallisation of zeolites is still not fully understood. This is important when attempting to prepare novel frameworks to produce new zeolites. We consider 18-crown-6 ether as an additive, which has previously been shown to differentiate between the EMT and FAU zeolite frameworks. However, it is unclear whether this distinction is dictated by influences on the metastable free-energy landscape or geometric templating. Using high pressure synchrotron X-ray diffraction, we have observed that the presence of 18C6 does not impact the EMT framework flexibility – agreeing with our previous geometric simulations and suggesting that 18C6 does not behave as a true geometric template. This was further studied with computational modelling, using first-principles comparative periodic DFT and lattice-dynamics calculations. It is shown that the lattice energy of FAU is more stable than EMT, however this is strongly impacted by the presence of solvent/guest molecules in the framework. Furthermore, the EMT topology possesses a greater vibrational entropy, being stabilised by free energy at finite temperature. Overall, these findings demonstrate that the role of the 18C6 additive is to influence the free-energy of crystallisation to assemble the EMT framework as opposed to FAU.