Neutron spectroscopy as a tool in catalytic science
Catalytic science currently has access to a range of advanced experimental methods for the study of molecular behaviour in chemical processes. Neutron spectroscopy, however, is uniquely placed to gain detailed insight into such systems, particularly through techniques such as vibrational spectroscopy with neutrons (INS) which gives access to vibrational modes unavailable to conventional spectroscopy techniques, and quasielastic neutron scattering (QENS) which studies molecular motion on a range of timescales. The present article illustrates the role of these techniques in advancing the field of catalysis. We first provide a brief introduction to the basic principles of the techniques, and then discuss their use in the study of three key catalytic systems: the behaviour of hydrocarbons confined in zeolite catalysts; the methanol-to-hydrocarbons process; and methane reforming. We demonstrate the importance of neutron spectroscopy in understanding established catalytic processes, but also consider its role in the design of future catalytic systems.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867)