Heterogeneous catalysis is the great enabling discipline of chemistry . It is an essential technology for chemical and materials manufacturing, for fuel cells and other energy conversion systems, for combustion devices, and for pollution control systems which greatly impact everyone on our planet.
Catalysts with very high activity, selectivity and stability under very demanding conditions are needed, and their development and design require to go well beyond the traditional approaches. The fundamental understanding of the catalytic mechanism is a crucial prerequisite for the sustainable development of more efficient chemical processes for energy conversion and environmental protection. Accordingly the development of knowledge on the catalyst behavior modus operandi is of paramount importance to achieve an atomic-scale understanding of the reaction mechanisms: such a challenging objective requires a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach where different experimental techniques are simultaneously applied and reconciled with state-of-the-art insights from theory at the different characteristic time scale.
The aims of our work is the development of multi and interdisciplinary methodology for the investigation of heterogeneous catalytic reactions. This is achieved by coupling operando FT-IR spectroscopy and gas on-line analysis (using integrated mass spectrometer, specifically designed FT-IR gas micro-cell and GC) enabling the detailed quantitative description with spatial and temporal resolution of adsorbed and gas-phase species under actual reaction conditions with the identification of the reaction mechanisms and the quantitative kinetic description.