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Catalysts have been studied for over a century, however many questions remain unanswered about the fundamental factors influencing the activity, selectivity as well as the deactivation of catalysts at work. In spite of our advances in synthesis and characterization methods, the empirical approach towards discovery of new catalysts still prevails. To date, most electron microscopy studies of catalysts have been performed under ex-situ conditions. Observation of samples in vacuum and at room-temperature cannot, by principle, reveal the working state of a catalyst, and has rather contributed to a misleading picture of static catalysts in the past. Therefore, operando electron microscopy presents itself as a powerful tool, providing direct insights into time-resolved structural and morphological transformations of the material during operating conditions on the atomic scale.
In this Nanotalk, Dr. Milivoj shows the application of complementary operando EM techniques (in-situ TEM and SEM), allowing the direct visualization of structural and morphological changes of a platinum catalyst in the CO oxidation reaction across different length scales. Moreover, he presents the use of this multi-scale approach to study the collective dynamics at the µm scale in the SEM but also relate them to atomic processes that are observed by operando TEM. In the second part of his talk, he explains the possible influence of the electron beam on catalyst dynamics during in-situ observations. He also discusses the potential significant impact of the electron beam on the Pt nanoparticles coarsening and the dependence of the applied gaseous environment, the temperature and electron beam dose.
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