Molecular hydrogen exists in two spin-rotation coupled states: parahydrogen and orthohydrogen. Due to the variation of energy with rotational level, the occupation of ortho- and parahydrogen states is temperature dependent, with parahydrogen being the dominant species at low temperatures. The equilibrium at 20 K (99.8% parahydrogen) can be reached by natural conversion only after a lengthy process. With the use of a suitable catalyst, this process can be shortened significantly. Two types of commercial catalysts currently being used for ortho- to parahydrogen conversion are: iron(iii) oxide (Fe2O3, IONEX®), and chromium(ii) oxide doped silica catalyst (CrO·SiO2, OXISORB®). We investigate the interaction of ortho- and parahydrogen with the surfaces of these ortho-para conversion catalysts using neutron vibrational spectroscopy. The catalytic surfaces have been characterized using X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) and X-ray/neutron pair distribution function measurements.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Physical Chemistry