Dr. Patrick Hemberger
Beamline scientist and principal investigator
5232 Villigen PSI
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. PSI researcher Patrick Hemberger was selected this year and featured in the current virtual special issue for his contributions in understanding reaction mechanisms in chemistry using advanced synchrotron tools.
Read more: https://www.psi.ch/en/sls/vuv/scientific-highlights/psi-researcher-patrick-hemberger-honored-in-the-rising-stars-special
Patrick Hemberger is currently principal investigator and beamline scientist at the VUV (x04db) beamline at the Swiss Light Source. He graduated in chemistry from University of Würzburg (Germany) in 09/2008 and received his PhD in physical chemistry in 06/2011. Patrick was awarded a Mercator Fellowship from the German Science Foundation (DFG) and has co-authored more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He is lecturer and local organizer of the Hercules School (2020-2022) in the field of Synchrotron Radiation and supervises PhD students and postdocs. Besides peer-reviewing activities for different journals and funding agencies he is a member of the Proposal Review Panel at Elettra Synchrotron, Trieste (Italy).
At PSI he is responsible for further developing and application of the technologies at the vacuum ultraviolet beamline for chemical reaction dynamics research. This includes development of sources for the generation of elusive and reactive intermediates (free radicals). With the ultimate goal to elucidate reaction mechanism in reactive flows, Patrick refines the instrumentation at the VUV beamline (spectrometers & sampling environment) to enable combination with novel reactors. He is heading the user chemistry laboratory at the Swiss Light Source, successfully applies for funding and is supervising PhD students and users.
Patrick’s research interests are elucidating reaction mechanisms in reactive environments in all states, phases and time-scales. To unveil these insights, Patrick applies and develops methods to probe elusive and reactive molecules isomer-selectively utilizing vacuum ultraviolet synchrotron radiation, ultrafast lasers, photoelectron spectroscopy and mass spectrometric techniques. Currently he is principal investigator in several projects with the goal to elucidate reaction mechanisms at interfaces including heterogeneous catalytic processes as well as in processes involving the liquid phase. Besides projects with VUV synchrotron radiation, Patrick also applies time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and mass spectrometry to study the femtochemistry of free radicals.
Tuning the zeolite acidity enables selectivity control by suppressing ketene formation in lignin catalytic pyrolysis
Mechanistic insights gained by PEPICO spectroscopy helped to enhance selectivity in the zeolite-catalyzed fast pyrolysis of guaiacol. The increased phenol production can be understood by suppressing fulvenone formation through increased Brønsted acid sites density. This approach has wider applicability for optimizing other heterogeneous catalytic processes beyond lignin pyrolysis.
Z. Pan, A. Puente-Urbina, S. Rabia Batool, A. Bodi, X. Wu, Z. Zhang, J. A. van Bokhoven, P. Hemberger* Tuning the zeolite acidity enables selectivity control by suppressing ketene formation in lignin catalytic pyrolysis
Nature Communications 2023, 14, 4512.
Photoion mass-selected threshold photoelectron spectroscopy to detect reactive intermediates in catalysis: From instrumentation and examples to peculiarities and a database
Invited perspective on threshold photoelectron spectroscopy as a versatile tool used in heterogeneous catalysis to precisely identify isomer components in reactive mixtures. Case studies demonstrate its effectiveness in understanding complex mechanisms. The technique's robustness, temperature effects, and a novel spectral database, the PhotoElectron PhotoIon Spectral Compendium, are discussed.
P. Hemberger*, Z. Pan, X. Wu, Z. Zhang, K. Kanayama, and A. Bodi. Photoion mass-selected threshold photoelectron spectroscopy to detect reactive intermediates in catalysis: From instrumentation and examples to peculiarities and a database. J. Phys. Chem. C, 2023, 127, 16751–16763.
Unraveling radical and oxygenate routes in the oxidative dehydrogenation of propane over boron nitride
This study explores propane-to-propylene conversion over boron nitride (BN) catalysts. It identifies a gas-phase route for olefin production involving free radicals and oxygenates, alongside surface-catalyzed processes, with an emphasis on the prevention of CO2 formation by controlling oxygenate desorption from the catalyst surface.
Z. Zhang, J. Tian, X. Wu, I. Surin, J. Pérez-Ramírez, P. Hemberger*, and A. Bodi. Unraveling radical and oxygenate routes in the oxidative dehydrogenation of propane over boron nitride. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2023, 145, 7910.
First experimental observation of the elusive methylketene as a key intermediate in the production of ethylene during the zeolite-catalyzed methanol-to-olefins reaction. This finding supports a computationally predicted mechanism in which ethylene is generated from ketene through a pathway involving a methylketene intermediate and subsequent decarbonylation
X. Wu, Z. Zhang, Z. Pan, X. Zhou, A. Bodi, and P. Hemberger*. Ketenes in the induction of the methanol-to-olefins process. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2022, 61, e2022077777.
Isomer-dependent catalytic pyrolysis mechanism of the lignin model compounds catechol, resorcinol and hydroquinone
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.
Z. Pan, A. Puente-Urbina, A. Bodi, J. A. Bokhoven and P. Hemberger* Chem. Sci., 2021,12, 3161–3169 DOI: 10.1039/d1sc00654a
Photoelectron photoion coincidence spectroscopy provides mechanistic insights in fuel synthesis and conversion
This invited review underscores the significance of clean combustion and carbon neutrality for sustainability. It highlights the use of PEPICO spectroscopy for in-depth mechanistic insights in various chemical processes, including biomass conversion and combustion, and discusses ongoing developments in PEPICO detection tools.
P. Hemberger*, A. Bodi, T. Bierkandt, M. Kohler, D. Kaczmarek, and T. Kasper. Photoelectron photoion coincidence spectroscopy provides mechanistic insights in fuel synthesis and conversion. Energy Fuels, 2021, 35, 16265–26302.
New analytical tools for advanced mechanistic studies in catalysis: photoionization and photoelectron photoion coincidence spectroscopy
How can we detect reactive and elusive intermediates in catalysis to unveil reaction mechanisms? In this mini review, we discuss novel photoionization tools to support this quest.
P. Hemberger*, J. A. van Bokhoven, J. Pérez-Ramírez, A. Bodi Catal. Sci. Technol., 2020,10, 1975-1990.
Awards and Grants
- 2022/10: Energy & Fuels Rising Star Award 2022
- 2021: Finalist Falling Walls Breakthrough of the Year 2021 in the category Physical Sciences.
- 2021: NCCR Catalysis “Advanced Photoelectron Photoion Coincidence Spectroscopy to Unveil Reaction Mechanisms”, 240 kCHF
- 2020/11: Ružička Prize in Chemistry: "Understanding the mechanism of catalytic fast pyrolysis by unveiling reactive intermediates in heterogeneous catalysis"
- 2018/10: Cross Proposal: "Detecting reactive intermediates to understand the hydrothermal depolymerization mechanism of lignin", 540 kCHF
- 2018/04: SNSF Grant: "Disentangling the Reaction Mechanism in Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Lignin by Detecting Reactive Intermediates", 282 kCHF
- 2017: Poster Prize (Runner up) SCS Fall Meeting 2017 (Category: Catalysis Science & Engineering): "Understanding Reaction Mechanisms in Heterogeneously Catalyzed Reactions: The Case of Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis" link
- 2015: Grant: Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) Grant: "Disentangling soot formation processes applying VUV synchrotron radiation and ultrafast laser spectroscopy" 320 kCHF
- 2015: Mercator Fellow of the German Science Foundation "PEPICO in der Flammenforschung"
- 2012: SYN Budget Proposal for 2013, 100 kCHF
- 2008: Poster Prize Chem-SyStM 2008
- Swiss Chemical Society SCS
- German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry
- German Chemical Society GDCh