Laboratory for Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry
An important part of our research therefore focuses on providing understanding of a functioning catalyst with the ultimate aim to be able to design better catalytic processes. This reflects the general research theme within the laboratory, which is to provide understanding of a functioning respectively functional material. The laboratory is in particular strong in the development and application of in situ / operando time- and space-resolved measurements. For that, we maintain strong links to the synchrotron. We apply methods based on X-ray absorption and emission and X-ray photoemission spectroscopies, in addition to ptychographic imaging. High space-resolution is achieved in both the hard and soft X-ray regimes and diffractive and spectroscopic imaging is explored.
In partnership with Roche, PSI scientists are developing new, potentially more efficient catalysts for manufacturing active substances for drug therapies.
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.
The editors at Nature Communications have put together an Editors’ Highlights webpage of recent research called “Catalysis” and chose to feature Arik Beck's et al. article, entitled “The dynamics of overlayer formation on catalyst nanoparticles and strong metal-support interaction”.
Platinum isolated atoms and clusters supported on molybdenum carbide have been extensively characterized. The presence of both species is essential to boost the stability, so that the catalysts displays high metal-normalized turnover number of 4,300,000 moles of hydrogen per mole of platinum
How to trick electrons to see the hidden face of crystals - LSK researchers try a trick for complete 3D analysis of submicron crystals
Breakthrough in 3D structure analysis by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) achieved by members of the LSK. Their paper published in Nature Communications will add a new dimension to TEM and thus is highlighted by Die Presse, Der Standard and phys.org.
A recent paper published in PNAS and highlighted by CNN proposes creating islands to produce a liquid fuel (methanol) by recycling atmospheric CO2.
On isothermality in some commonly used plug flow reactors for X-ray based investigations of catalysts
Understand reactor design and characterize their behavior to avoid unwanted sources of error in determining structure function relationships in catalysis.
Article published in Nature Catalysis - view on misconceptions and challenges in methane-to-methanol
Manoj Ravi, PhD student in the van Bokhoven group, warned the community about all the misconceptions and pitfalls he encountered while studying the conversion of methane to methanol and made it into Nature Catalysis!