Apart from maintaining the VUV beamline at the Swiss Light Source, the Reaction Dynamics Group studies reactions and species relevant to low temperature combustion, catalysis, and atmospheric chemistry. We employ different flavors of coincidence techniques with velocity map imaging and time-of-flight mass spectrometry, together with synchrotron radiation as well as ultrafast lasers. Our goal is to understand chemical reaction dynamics in various energy and time domains.
PSI researcher Patrick Hemberger honored in the Rising Stars special issue in Energy & Fuels
To celebrate contributions of highly influential early and mid-career researchers in energy research, the journal Energy & Fuels established an annual recognition of Energy and Fuels Rising Stars.
Finding Ketenes in the Methanol to Olefins Process
How are the first olefins formed in the early stages of the methanol-to-olefins process? Detection of two reactive ketene species solves this long-standing puzzle.
Watch them growing: New mechanistic insights into catalytic methane coupling
Methane valorization is a promising technology to utilize this platform compound to produce aromatics and hydrocarbons. Researchers from PSI and ETH Zürich unveiled this reaction mechanism and observed the molecular growth from the ground up. Besides stepwise CH3 addition, novel routes involving the dimerization of resonantly stabilized propargyl (C3H3) radicals to benzene (C6H6) were identified. These mechanistic insights will aid the development of valorisation strategies.
Important elementary reactions of lignin catalytic pyrolysis revealed
To develop sustainable lignin valorization strategies, a solid understanding of the underlying reaction mechanism is critical. By detection of highly reactive and elusive intermediates, new light could be shed on one of the most basic elementary reactions in lignin catalytic fast pyrolysis.
HERCULES SCHOOL 2021 AT PSI
During the week of March 15 – 19, we had the pleasure to welcome 20 international PhD students, PostDocs and assistant professors at PSI, taking part in the first virtual HERCULES SCHOOL on Neutrons & Synchrotron Radiation.
The Ružička Prize 2020 goes to Dr. Patrick Hemberger (PSI) for his research on understanding the mechanisms of catalytic fast pyrolysis by unveiling reactive intermediates in heterogeneous catalysts.
Methylbismuth: First observation of an organometallic biradical reactive intermediate
Open shell organometallic bismuth are promising agents for catalytic applications, but difficult to characterize due to their high reactivity. The simplest methylbismuth (Bi-CH3), a biradical species, was in-situ synthesized and spectroscopically characterized for the first time. Electronic and thermochemical properties could be obtained, which will guide future synthetic applications.
Selective Alkane Functionalization to Olefins
Light alkanes are abundantly available and cheap resources that are often burned at oil wells because of the missing infrastructure for valorization. Novel technologies are needed for their selective functionalization to use natural gas as an energy vector in the transition between the oil and the renewables era. Catalytic oxyhalogenation may unlock the transformation of cheap and abundant alkanes into commodities. When chlorine-based reactions are compared with bromine, improved selectivities above an iron catalyst arise from surface-confinement of the reaction mechanism in the case of chlorine as halogen.