New advances in the use of infrared absorption spectroscopy for the characterization of heterogeneous catalytic reactions
Infrared absorption spectroscopy has proven to be one of the most powerful spectroscopic techniques available for the characterization of catalytic systems. Although the history of IR absorption spectroscopy in catalysis is long, the technique continues to provide key fundamental information about a variety of catalysts and catalytic reactions, and to also offer novel options for the acquisition of new information on both reaction mechanisms and the nature of the solids used as catalysts. In this review, an overview is provided of the main contributions that have been derived from IR absorption spectroscopy studies of catalytic systems, and a discussion is included on new trends and new potential directions of research involving IR in catalysis. We start by briefly describing the power of Fourier-transform IR (FTIR) instruments and the main experimental IR setups available, namely, transmission (TIR), diffuse reflectance (DRIFTS), attenuated total reflection (ATR-IR), and reflection–absorption (RAIRS), for advancing research in catalysis. We then discuss the different environments under which IR characterization of catalysts is carried out, including in situ and operando studies of typical catalytic processes in gas-phase, research with model catalysts in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) and so-called high-pressure cell instruments, and work involving liquid/solid interfaces. A presentation of the type of information extracted from IR data follows in terms of the identification of adsorbed intermediates, the characterization of the surfaces of the catalysts themselves, the quantitation of IR intensities to extract surface coverages, and the use of probe molecules to identify and titrate specific catalytic sites. Finally, the different options for carrying out kinetic studies with temporal resolution such as rapid-scan FTIR, step-scan FTIR, and the use of tunable lasers or synchrotron sources, and to obtain spatially resolved spectra, by sample rastering or by 2D imaging, are introduced.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Catalysis for Production of Renewable Energy