Understanding Catalyst Behavior During In Situ Heating Through Simultaneous Secondary and Transmitted Electron Imaging

Howe, Jane Y., Lawrence F. Allard, Wilbur C. Bigelow, Hendrix Demers and Steven H. Overbury, 2014

Image courtesy of Nanoscale Res. Lett.


By coupling techniques of simultaneous secondary (SE) and transmitted electron (TE) imaging at high resolution in a modern scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), with the ability to heat specimens using a highly stable MEMS-based heating platform, we obtained synergistic information to clarify the behavior of catalysts during in situ thermal treatments. Au/iron oxide catalyst ‘leached’ to remove surface Au was heated to temperatures as high as 700°C. The Fe2O3 support particle structure tended to reduce to Fe3O4 and formed surface terraces; the formation, coalescence, and mobility of 1- to 2-nm particles on the terraces were characterized in SE, STEM-ADF, and TEM-BF modes. If combined with simultaneous nanoprobe spectroscopy, this approach will open the door to a new way of studying the kinetics of nano-scaled phenomena.

Impact Statement

The observation of Au leached with Au/iron oxide catalyst when heated to temperatures up to 700 °C.