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Högtrycks Fotoelektronspektroskopi

Start- och slutdatum
Beviljat belopp
4 842 341 kr
Förvaltande organisation
Stockholm University
Materialvetenskap och materialteknologier


The project aims to take a major leap in the development of the technique of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and to make it possible to investigate atomic-level information of surface chemical reactions that take place at real industrial processes. In order to achieve this goal we will 1. develop a system that is capable to investigate the solid gas interface at temperatures of 500°C and pressures of 10 bar, which is 3 orders of magnitude higher in pressure than what is today generally implemented. 2. Develop an interface sensitive electrochemical system with full electrochemical control. Together with three industrial partners and one future postdoctoral researcher, we will systematically develop the systems starting from the initial design phase, to manufacturing and showing the applicability of the devices. We judge the development to be of high risk, but if becoming successful of enormous gain. The systems will be interesting to future synchrotron radiation users as well as industrial partners and will not only be restricted to catalysis, but will also be applicable to other material sciences. At the end of the project we expect commercialisation of system 1 by Scienta Omicron. We see Haldor Topsoe and Permascand as long-term users (10+ years) to develop future catalyst materials for the chemical industry. If successful, this will open a new pathway into rational catalyst design, leading to more efficient and more selective materials for industrial chemical industry.

Populärvetenskaplig beskrivning

Catalyst materials help in transforming one molecular species to an-other. This happens for example in a car exhaust system where poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) is converted to environmental less harmful carbon dioxide (CO2). Interestingly the catalyst material is thereby not consumed but just facilitates the reaction. The process of making ammonia over iron catalysts that leads to fertilizers for agriculture and food production was judged to be the biggest discovery of mankind. Without this process around 2 billion people would starve to death having no access to food. It has been estimated that more than 90% of all these industrial chemicals, is dependent on the availability of suitable catalysts, and that about 60% of all processes in the chemical industry rely on catalysis. Most of todays interesting chemical transformation happen at high temperatures and high pressures of 10 bar and beyond. It is remarkable that no measurements on the atomic level catalytic surface chemical reaction have been done up to date, meaning that a multi billion-dollar industry lacks of detailed understanding necessary for process optimization. With our attempt we push forward in experimental technique development trying to investigate the atomistic structure under real industrial conditions. We initially involve with three industrial partners to develop two systems for different fields in catalysis, i.e., (i) to probe the solid-gas interphase at high pressures and high temperatures and (ii) to probe the solid-liquid interphase for electrochemical applications. This will be only possible taking advantage of modern x-ray light sources, which can deliver high power into small spatial volumes and exist, e.g., at MAXIV in Lund in southern Sweden. It will be based on the technique of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. In this technique x-rays interact with the catalytic material and create free electrons. Investigating these electrons gives scientists useful chemical information on the processes occurring on the surfaces while a reaction takes place. If successful, the developed instrumentation will help to not only investigate catalyst materials but also contribute to breakthroughs in other fields of science as material design and corrosion. We can envision that atomic-level investigation of real industrial processes will allow for process optimization and may have a tremendous impact on today’s industrial landscape.