News articles

Single Particle Catalysis Identifies Nano-pacemakers

How a catalytic reaction proceeds on the nanofacets of a single catalytic particle is revealed by a team of our Institute in the journal "ACS Catalysis".

The image is split into three parts: a)optical image of the Rh nanotip and a ball model of its hemispherical apex (r = 17 nm), b)atomically resolved FIM image of the Rh nanotip, obtained using Ne + ions (T = 77 K), Same Rh tip imaged by FEM

Using the apex of a Rh-nanotip as model of a single catalytic particle and field emission microscopy (FEM) as imaging tool, ongoing catalytic reactions can be visualized on a nm-scale. In this way, H2 oxidation on Rh in a specific mode, in which the reaction oscillates in a self-sustained way without external stimulus, was in situ imaged and new atomistic details were revealed. An original sophisticated method for tracking nm-sized instabilities in surface processes allowed the identification of local nano-pacemakers which initiate kinetic transitions and the nucleation of reaction fronts. The pacemakers turned out to be specific surface atomic configurations at the border between strongly corrugated Rh{973} regions and adjacent atomically flat terraces. These novel insights into the initiation and propagation of kinetic transitions on a single catalytic nanoparticle demonstrate how in situ monitoring of an ongoing reaction on individual nanofacets of a catalytic particle can single out active configurations, opening new ways for targeted tailoring of future catalysts.

Illustration of a Nano-Pacemaker

Original publication:

Single particle catalysis: revealing intraparticle pacemakers in catalytic H2 oxidation on Rh

J. Zeininger, Y. Suchorski, M. Raab, S. Buhr, H. Grönbeck, G. Rupprechter

ACS Catalysis, 11 (2021) 10020–10027, opens an external URL in a new window

Die Arbeiten wurden im Rahmen des vom FWF geförderten Projekts „Spatial-temporal phenomenaon surface structure libraries“ durchgeführt.