Characterization of acid sites in zeolitic and other inorganic systems using solid-state 31P NMR of the probe molecule trimethylphosphine oxide

Edward F. Rakiewicz, Alan W. Peters, Richard F. Wormsbecher, Kevin J. Sutovich, Karl T. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


The ability to determine the types and concentrations of acid sites in zeolites and fluid-catalytic cracking systems is important for an increased understanding of structure/performance relationships in these materials. Currently, a variety of thermal methods exist that allow quantitative measurement of the Brønsted acid site concentration. In addition, numerous spectroscopic methods using probe molecules are available for qualitative and quantitative detection of both Brønsted and Lewis acid sites. In studies utilizing solid-state NMR spectroscopy, probe molecules containing 31P nuclei present substantial advantages over probes isotopically enriched with 13C and 15N nuclei. These advantages include increased sensitivity and chemical shift dispersion. While a number of phosphorus-based experiments have probed the interaction of trimethylphosphine with solid acid catalysts, initial studies of the more stable trimethylphosphine oxide (TMPO) have only been reported on amorphous silica-alumina surfaces. We now report the successful completion of TMPO studies of acid sites in several systems including γ-alumina; HY, USY, and dealuminated Y zeolites; and a silica-alumina catalyst with an aluminum concentration of 13%. Comprehensive and consistent assignments to particular types of sites are made for all resonance lines in the 31P MAS NMR signals from TMPO. Based on results from dehydroxylated γ-alumina, new chemical shift assignments are made for the TMPO/Lewis acid complex. The assignments of 31P resonances from molecules not directly associated with nearby 27Al nuclei (such as crystalline or physisorbed TMPO species) are supported using 1H/31P/27Al triple-resonance NMR methods. The concentrations of Brønsted acid sites from the NMR results are compared with concentrations obtained from isopropylamine/temperature-programmed-desorption measurements, and substantial agreement between the methods is found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2890-2896
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 16 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of acid sites in zeolitic and other inorganic systems using solid-state 31P NMR of the probe molecule trimethylphosphine oxide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this