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The active state of catalysts tends to be metastable and adopts to the chemical potential of the surrounding gas atmosphere. Therefore, standard approaches via characterizing and comparing the catalysts ex situ prior to and after catalytic reaction may fail to provide relevant insights. This is because active surface motifs might be changed and/or damaged during the transfer from working state to non-catalytic conditions, hampering rational improvement of heterogeneous catalysts via establishing robust structure-activity relationships. To gain a realistic understanding of the functional state of catalysts and the underlying reaction mechanisms, it is vital to examine catalysts under relevant reaction conditions. In situ / operando TEM has emerged as a powerful method for studying the atmosphere and temperature induced dynamic changes of catalysts. It can provide real-time, spatially-resolved atomic structures of working catalysts while detecting catalytic activity simultaneously under relevant conditions, thus allowing direct establishment of structure-performance relationships.
Dr. Xing will show the use of operando TEM to characterize the active state of the copper catalyst in model hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR). Particle dynamics induced by interaction between copper and gas phase will also be presented. Furthermore, he will show and discuss how chemical potential influences particle size, shape and dynamic behavior, and how structural dynamics are related to the catalytic activity. Finally, he will extend the discussion from model HOR (on Cu) to more relevant redox reactions on different metal catalysts.
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