The ability to observe dynamic structural changes of working catalysts under reaction conditions is invaluable to understanding key promotion and poisoning phenomena and tailoring the design of next-generation catalysts. EXAFS is a perfect spectroscopic tool for probing the local chemical environment and oxidation state of atoms within catalysts over a wide range of temperatures and pressures. A key advantage of this technique is that the high penetration depth of X-rays allows solid catalysts to be studied while exposed to either vapour or liquid reaction mixtures.
Time-resolved or 'Fast' X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is a powerful in-situ tool enabling us to follow surface catalysed reactions in real-time. Fast XPS represents a chemically specific, surface sensitive and quantitative technique for characterising adsorbates and the underlying interface. Synchrotron X-ray radiation is used to tune into different chemical elements at a solid surface (e.g. adsorbed molecules or metal dopants) and probe their local environment.
Time-resolved XPS is an extremely powerful method for investigating chemical transformations catalysed by solid surfaces. There are two principle modes of operation: spectra can be recorded as a function of time while exposing the surface to an adsorbate at constant temperature shedding insight into adsorption kinetics; alternatively spectra can be recorded continuously while heating a reactant adlayer to deconstruct reaction mechanism and identify metastable reaction intermediates.
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