Chemical imaging of catalytic solids with synchrotron radiation

Chem Soc Rev. 2010 Dec;39(12):4656-72. doi: 10.1039/c0cs00089b. Epub 2010 Oct 27.


Heterogeneous catalysis is a term normally used to describe a group of catalytic processes, yet it could equally be employed to describe the catalytic solid itself. A better understanding of the chemical and structural variation within such materials is thus a pre-requisite for the rationalising of structure-function relationships and ultimately to the design of new, more sustainable catalytic processes. The past 20 years has witnessed marked improvements in technologies required for analytical measurements at synchrotron sources, including higher photon brightness, nano-focusing, rapid, high resolution data acquisition and in the handling of large volumes of data. It is now possible to image materials using the entire synchrotron radiative profile, thus heralding a new era of in situ/operando measurements of catalytic solids. In this tutorial review we discuss the recent work in this exciting new research area and finally conclude with a future outlook on what will be possible/challenging to measure in the not-too-distant future.