Dr. Luca Artiglia


Paul Scherrer Institute
Forschungsstrasse 111
5232 Villigen PSI

Luca Artiglia is staff scientist in the Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis and Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry of the Paul Scherrer Institute. He got his BSc (in 2005) ad MSc (in 2007) in industrial chemistry at the university of Padova (Italy). In 2011, after three years of research in the field of surface science (synthesis and characterization of model catalysts), he defended his PhD in materials science and engineering at the university of Padova (Italy). In September 2015, after four years of PostDoc focused on the in situ characterization of oxide-oxide catalysts, he got a tenure track position at the Paul Scherrer Institute. Initially, he was responsible of the scientific activity and technical upgrade of the near ambient pressure photoemission (NAPP) project. Since January 2019, the NAPP endstations have been permanently connected to the Swiss light source, becoming the In Situ Spectroscopy beamline. In September 2019 he got tenure. During his career, he spent research periods at the institute for surface chemistry and catalysis of the university of Ulm (Germany), and at the physics department of the university of  Genova (Italy).      

Since 2015, Luca Artiglia manages the in-house ambient pressure photoelectron spectroscopy research program at the Paul Scherrer Institute. He has the scientific responsibility of the catalysis research and the full technical responsibility of the maintenance and upgrade of the instrument. Starting from January 2019, the endstation has a permanent connection to the Swiss light source (X07DB site) and has become a 50% beamline hosting external users. Luca Artiglia provides full support to the users of the solid-gas interface endstation. 

Luca Artiglia's scientific research is currently focused on the in situ investigation of reactions at the solid-gas and liquid-vapor/gas interfaces. Thanks to the surface sensitivity of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy together with the unique experimental setups developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute, it is possible to focus the spectroscopic investigation on the first few nanometers, where reactions take place. Concerning solid-gas interfaces, the research interest is toward supported metal nanoparticles involved in oxidation catalytic processes (CO oxidation, water gas shift, ethylene epoxidation). Such systems can be characterized both under steady state and transient stare conditions, so that the active sites can be detected. Concerning liquid-vapor and liquid-gas interfaces, the research interest is toward the surface propensity of selected solutes and the reactivity of solutes with selected gases.  


For an extensive overview we kindly refer you to our publication repository DORA

Surface propensity of aqueous atmospheric bromine at the liquid-gas interface, Ivan Gladich, Shuzhen Chen, Mario Vazdar, Anthony Boucly, Huanhyu Yang, Markus Ammann, and Luca Artiglia, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters volume 11, page 3422 (2020).

Multiphase reactions of halide ions in aqueous solutions exposed to the atmosphere initiate the formation of molecular halogen compounds in the gas phase. Their photolysis leads to halogen atoms, which are catalytic sinks for ozone, making these processes relevant for the regional and global tropospheric ozone budget. The affinity of halide ions in aqueous solution for the liquid-gas interface, which may influence their reactivity with gaseous species, has been debated. Our study focuses on the surface properties of the bromide ion and its oxidation products. In situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy carried out on a liquid jet combined with classical and first-principles molecular dynamics calculations was used to investigate the interfacial depth profile of bromide, hypobromite, hypobromous acid, and bromate. The simulated core electron binding energies support the experimentally observed values, which follow a correlation with bromine oxidation state for the anion series. Bromide ions are homogeneously distributed in the solution. Hypobromous acid, a key species in the multiphase cycling of bromine, is the only species showing surface propensity, which suggests a more important role of the interface in multiphase bromine chemistry than thought so far.


Role of water on the structure of palladium for methane complete oxidation, Xiansheng Li, Xing Wang, Kanak Roy, Jeroen A. van Bokhoven and Luca Artiglia, ACS Catalysis volume 10, page 5783 (2020).

Palladium-based catalysts are attractive for methane combustion on natural gas vehicles at low temperature. By means of ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we investigated the reaction on a palladium foil exposed to different mixtures at increasing temperature. Water affects the long-term catalyst stability and blocks the active sites, ascribed to the hydroxyl inhibition effect. We investigated such an effect both under steady state and under transient reaction conditions, to understand the mechanism of inhibition. The hydroxyl formation on the surface of palladium blocks the sites for methane activation, postponing the formation of the active palladium oxide phase in the bulk.


In situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy detects multiple active sites involved in the selective anaerobic oxidation of methane in copper-exchanged zeolites, Luca Artiglia, Vitaly Sushkevich, Dennis Palagin, Amy J. Knorpp, K. Roy and Jeroen A. van Bokhoven, ACS Catalysis volume 9, page 6728 (2019).

A direct route to convert methane into high-value commodities, such as methanol, with high selectivity is one of the primary challenges in modern chemistry. Copper-exchanged zeolites show remarkable selectivity in the chemical looping process. Although multiple copper species have been proposed as active, an in situ spectroscopic investigation is difficult, because of their similar fingerprints. We used ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to investigate an actual powder sample. We could discriminate between different types of active species involved in the conversion of methane to methanol over two different copper-exchanged zeolites, namely, mordenite and mazzite. After activation at 400 °C in oxygen, we followed the reaction in situ at 200 °C, switching from methane to water, and followed by a second cycle with anaerobic activation. Our experimental results, combined with theoretical calculations, prove that Cu(II) sites bound to extra-framework oxygen are involved in the reaction, and that their structure, formation, and stabilization depend on the type of zeolite and on the Si/Al ratio.


A surface-stabilized ozonide triggers bromide oxidation at the aqueous solution-vapour interface, Luca Artiglia, et al., Nature Communications volume 8, article number:700 (2017).

Oxidation of bromide in aqueous environments initiates the formation of molecular halogen compounds, which is important for the global tropospheric ozone budget. In the aqueous bulk, oxidation of bromide by ozone involves a [Br•OOO-] complex as intermediate. Here we report liquid jet X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements that provide direct experimental evidence for the ozonide and establish its propensity for the solution-vapour interface. Theoretical calculations support these findings, showing that water stabilizes the ozonide and lowers the energy of the transition state at neutral pH. Kinetic experiments confirm the dominance of the heterogeneous oxidation route established by this precursor at low, atmospherically relevant ozone concentrations. Taken together, our results provide a strong case of different reaction kinetics and mechanisms of reactions occurring at the aqueous phase-vapour interface compared with the bulk aqueous phase.


Introducing time resolution to detect Ce3+ catalytically active sites at the Pt/CeO2 interface through ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Luca Artiglia,  Fabrizio Orlando, Kanak Roy, Rene Kopelent, Olga Safonova, Maarten Nachtegaal, Thomas Huthwelker and Jeroen A. van Bokhoven, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters volume 8, page 102 (2017).

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy has been employed for the qualitative and quantitative characterization of both model and real catalytic surfaces. Recent progress in the detection of photoelectrons has enabled the acquisition of spectra at pressures up to a few tens of millibars. Although reducing the pressure gap represents a remarkable advantage for catalysis, active sites may be short-lived or hidden in the majority of spectator species. Time-resolved experiments, conducted under transient conditions, are a suitable strategy for discriminating between active sites and spectators. In the present work, we characterized the surface of a Pt/CeO2 powder catalyst at 1.0 mbar of a reacting mixture of carbon monoxide and oxygen and, by means of time resolution, identified short-lived active species. We replaced oxygen with nitrogen in the reaction mixture while fast-detecting the core level peaks of cerium. The results indicate that active Ce3+ sites form transiently at the surface when the oxygen is switched off. Analysis of the depth profile shows that Ce3+ ions are located at the ceria surface. The same experiment, performed on platinum-free ceria, reveals negligible reduction, indicating that platinum boosts the formation of Ce3+ active sites at the interface.