Issue 23, 2020

Silicon microfabricated reactor for operando XAS/DRIFTS studies of heterogeneous catalytic reactions


Operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS) and mass spectrometry (MS) provide complementary information on the catalyst structure, surface reaction mechanisms and activity relationships. The powerful combination of the techniques has been the driving force to design and engineer suitable spectroscopic operando reactors that can mitigate limitations inherent to conventional reaction cells and facilitate experiments under kinetic regimes. Microreactors have recently emerged as effective spectroscopic operando cells due to their plug-flow type operation with no dead volume and negligible mass and heat transfer resistances. Here we present a novel microfabricated reactor that can be used for both operando XAS and DRIFTS studies. The reactor has a glass–silicon–glass sandwich-like structure with a reaction channel (3000 μm × 600 μm; width × depth) packed with a catalyst bed (ca. 25 mg) and placed sideways to the X-ray beam, while the infrared beam illuminates the catalyst bed from the top. The outlet of the reactor is connected to MS for continuous monitoring of the reactor effluent. The feasibility of the microreactor is demonstrated by conducting two reactions: i) combustion of methane over 2 wt% Pd/Al2O3 studied by operando XAS at the Pd K-edge and ii) CO oxidation over 1 wt% Pt/Al2O3 catalyst studied by operando DRIFTS. The former shows that palladium is in an oxidised state at all studied temperatures, 250, 300, 350, 400 °C and the latter shows the presence of linearly adsorbed CO on the platinum surface. Furthermore, temperature-resolved reduction of palladium catalyst with methane and CO oxidation over platinum catalyst are also studied. Based on these results, the catalyst structure and surface reaction dynamics are discussed, which demonstrate not only the applicability and versatility of the microreactor for combined operando XAS and DRIFTS studies, but also illustrate the unique advantages of the microreactor for high space velocity and transient response experiments.

Graphical abstract: Silicon microfabricated reactor for operando XAS/DRIFTS studies of heterogeneous catalytic reactions

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
12 Aug 2020
02 Oct 2020
First published
16 Oct 2020
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Catal. Sci. Technol., 2020,10, 7842-7856

Silicon microfabricated reactor for operando XAS/DRIFTS studies of heterogeneous catalytic reactions

B. Venezia, E. Cao, S. K. Matam, C. Waldron, G. Cibin, E. K. Gibson, S. Golunski, P. P. Wells, I. Silverwood, C. R. A. Catlow, G. Sankar and A. Gavriilidis, Catal. Sci. Technol., 2020, 10, 7842 DOI: 10.1039/D0CY01608J

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