Heterogeneous catalysis is of vital importance in addressing the world’s energy needs, environmental problems and food shortages. To aid the rational design of new and improved catalysts, it is necessary to establish a detailed understanding of the fundamental parameters controlling the synthesis, properties and degradation of the catalysts. As catalysis is a surface phenomenon, it is crucial to obtain information about the structure and dynamics of the catalytically important surface sites.

Electron microscopy is a powerful and indispensable tool for the study of heterogeneous catalysts at the atomic-level. State-of-the-art atomic-scale transmission electron microscopy (TEM) now allows for the direct visualization of heterogeneous catalysts with, ultimately, a spatial resolution in the sub-1Å range and sensitivity at the single-atom level, and provides this unique ability to observe the size, shape and surface structures of the catalysts.

The imaging techniques may be beneficially combined with capabilities for in-situ observations of catalysts in the working state. An important advancement is the implementation of differential pumping apertures in an aberration-corrected TEM, the FEI Titan ETEM, to maintain high-resolution imaging and analytical capabilities, while confining a gas environment in the close vicinity of the catalyst specimen. The FEI Titan ETEM enables time-resolved, atomic-scale observations of catalytic and related nanomaterials in situ during exposure to reactive gas environments.

This webinar reviews recent applications for ex situ and in situ study of heterogeneous catalysts at the atomic-scale. It will outline work that demonstrates visualization of surface structures and dynamics in catalysts. It will also discuss how such information can be used in interplay with information from surface science techniques and from complementary in situ characterization techniques to elucidate the role of gas-surface interactions on the working catalysts.

Who should attend?

  •     Persons with a general interest in imaging in materials science
  •     Persons with interest in in situ electron microscopy
  •     Researchers involved in characterizing catalysts

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