Catalysis is the key technology for the modern society. It enables 90% of all industrial chemical processes, including the production of fertilisers, synthetic fibres, plastics and fuels. Catalysis also promises us with a better future: improved or new catalysis technologies can allow greener routes for energy and raw material production, both are key factors in a sustainable world. Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) plays a crucial role in catalyst research, thanks to its unique capability of probing chemical information of materials with atomic resolution and sensitivities. The structure-synthesis-property relationship in practical catalysts can be revealed, providing not only new mechanistic insights into the catalytic process but also guidelines for new catalyst design. In this presentation, a few recent examples from the Cardiff and Lehigh team will be briefly introduced to demonstrate "Better Catalysts via STEM". STEM has helped us identify various active species in monometallic Au catalysts for low-temperature CO oxidation.Improved catalyst preparation then allow us to isolate atomically dispersed Au species, which are the best catalyst for hydrochlorination of acetylene.We will then discuss catalysts with multiple components, using the examples of the development of Pd based bimetallic catalysts for selective hydrogenation.Finally, some prospects of emerging STEM techniques for catalyst characterization will also be briefly discussed.
Qian He is a Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University. He obtained his B.S. (2006) and M.S. (2008) in Materials Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University, and a PhD (2013) in Material Science and Engineering from Lehigh University. He did postdoctoral research in the STEM group in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2013 until being appointed as a Research Fellow in Cardiff in June 2016. His research focuses on nanomaterial characterisation using atomic-scale imaging and spectroscopy via aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM).His main interest is to develop novel energy and environment-related nanomaterials using a combination of quantitative STEM and in-situ microscopy.