Novel in Situ Techniques for Studies of Model Catalysts

Edvin Lundgren, Chu Zhang, Lindsay R. Merte, Mikhail Shipilin, Sara Blomberg, Uta Hejral, Jianfeng Zhou, Johan Zetterberg, Johan Gustafson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ConspectusMotivated mainly by catalysis, gas-surface interaction between single crystal surfaces and molecules has been studied for decades. Most of these studies have been performed in well-controlled environments and have been instrumental for the present day understanding of catalysis, providing information on surface structures, adsorption sites, and adsorption and desorption energies relevant for catalysis. However, the approach has been criticized for being too far from a catalyst operating under industrial conditions at high temperatures and pressures. To this end, a significant amount of effort over the years has been used to develop methods to investigate catalysts at more realistic conditions under operating conditions. One result from this effort is a vivid and sometimes heated discussion concerning the active phase for the seemingly simple CO oxidation reaction over the Pt-group metals in the literature.In recent years, we have explored the possibilities to perform experiments at conditions closer to those of a technical catalyst, in particular at increased pressures and temperatures. In this contribution, results from catalytic CO oxidation over a Pd(100) single crystal surface using Near Ambient Pressure X-ray Photo emission Spectroscopy (NAPXPS), Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence (PLIF), and High Energy Surface X-ray Diffraction (HESXRD) are presented, and the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental techniques are discussed. Armed with structural knowledge from ultrahigh vacuum experiments, the presence of adsorbed molecules and gas-phase induced surface structures can be identified and related to changes in the reactivity or to reaction induced gas-flow limitations. In particular, the application of PLIF to catalysis allows one to visualize how the catalyst itself changes the gas composition close to the model catalyst surface upon ignition, and relate this to the observed surface structures. The effect obscures a straightforward relation between the active phase and the activity, since in the case of CO oxidation, the gas-phase close to the model catalyst surface is shown to be significantly more oxidizing than far away from the catalyst. We show that surface structural knowledge from UHV experiments and the composition of the gas phase close to the catalyst surface are crucial to understand structure-function relationships at semirealistic conditions. In the particular case of Pd, we argue that the surface structure of the PdO(101) has a significant influence on the activity, due to the presence of Coordinatively Unsaturated Sites (CUS) Pd atoms, similar to undercoordinated Ru and Ir atoms found for RuO2(110) and IrO2(110), respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2326-2333
Number of pages8
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 19

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Chemistry Topics
  • Accelerator Physics and Instrumentation
  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel in Situ Techniques for Studies of Model Catalysts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this