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Laboratory for Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry

Two of the grand challenges of the 21st century are energy and sustainability. Within the Laboratory for Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry, we combine synthetic chemistry with development and application of new (synchrotron-based) characterization tools to contribute to solving these challenges. Catalysis plays an essential role to energy conversion and storage as well as to achieving sustainable chemicals conversion.

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.


8 December 2018


Recent advances in electron crystallography rank 5th breakthrough of the year 2018

29 June 2018

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Cleaner emissions thanks to sponge-like structure

Media Releases Energy and Environment

PSI researchers have developed a new catalytic converter for cleaning emissions from natural gas engines. It is very active even at low temperatures and remains that way over a long period of time. This allows natural gas to be burned in a cleaner, more climate-friendly way. Thus natural gas and biogas become more attractive as substitutes for petroleum products – for example, as fuel for cars.

14 May 2018

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Members of the Laboratory for Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry made it into Angewandte!

A new paper by Vitaly Sushkevich and Dennis Palagin is accepted to Angewandte Chemie

New issue of Angewandte Chemie is featuring a paper entitled "Effect of Active Sites Structure on Activity of Copper Mordenite in Aerobic and Anaerobic Conversion of Methane to Methanol" by Vitaly and Dennis.

11 January 2018

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For the second time on the cover page of Journal of Physical Chemistry.

3 January 2018


Article in ESRF Highlights 2017

ESRF Highlights 2017 features work of researchers from the Laboratory of Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry, the Photon Science Division at Paul Scherrer Institut and the ESRF, Grenoble, France.

9 October 2017

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Johannes Ihli and co-researchers made it into Nature Communications

Nature Communications will be publishing the paper of Johannes Ihli et al., "A three-dimensional view of structural changes caused by deactivation of fluid catalytic cracking catalysts", in issue 8, article number 809. The paper has already gone online on October 9, 2017.

20 June 2017


Cover page of The Journal of Physical Chemistry

The paper titled "Core–Shell Structure of Palladium Hydride Nanoparticles Revealed by Combined X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and X-ray Diffraction" by Aram L. Bugaev was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry and made it on the cover of issue 33/2017.

1 June 2017


SPS Award in Applied Physics awarded to Waiz Karim

The SPS 2017 Prize in Applied Physics is awarded to former member of the van Bokhoven Group Waiz Karim for his PhD thesis entitled "Metal nanostructures and their catalytic properties using top-down nanofabrication and single particle spectroscopy" which was honored with his 1st author publication "Catalyst support effects on hydrogen spillover" by W. Karim, C. Spreafico, A. Kleibert, J. Gobrecht, J. VandeVondele, Y. Ekinci, J. A. van Bokhoven, Nature, 2017, 541, 68–71.

4 May 2017

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Making a valuable resource usable with water

Media Releases Energy and Environment Research Using Synchrotron Light

In oil extraction sites, gaseous methane is simply burned, even though it could actually be a useful precursor material for fuels and products of the chemical industry. One way to make methane usable is to convert it to methanol. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have now developed a new chemical process that allows this conversion in an efficient and inexpensive way.

6 March 2017


Cover page of CHEMCATCHEM

A paper titled "Optimization of the Reaction Conditions for Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Pretreated Lignin over Zeolite for the Production of Phenol" by Zhiqiang Ma is published in ChemCatChem and made it on the cover of issue 6/2017.

5 January 2017

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Nanotechnology enables new insights into chemical reactions

Media Releases Energy and Environment Research Using Synchrotron Light Micro- and Nanotechnology

Eighty percent of all products of the chemical industry are manufactured with catalytic processes. Catalysis is also indispensable in energy conversion and treatment of exhaust gases. Industry is always testing new substances and arrangements that could lead to new and better catalytic processes. Researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Villigen and ETH Zurich have now developed a method for improving the precision of such experiments, which may speed up the search for optimal solutions.
More Highlights can be found here: ScientificHighlightsEN