A perspective on counting catalytic active sites and rates of reaction using x-ray spectroscopy
journal contributionposted on 09.11.2018, 11:45 authored by Simon KondratSimon Kondrat, J.A. van Bokhoven
Identification of active sites and phases in heterogeneous catalysts and the understanding of the reaction mechanism remain highly challenging. In most catalysts, the existence of a multitude of surface species, which are dynamic in relation to reaction conditions, presents a challenge of distinguishing those that are involved in the catalytic cycle from those which are spectators. The emergence of the field of single-site catalysts potentially eliminates these issues, although it can be argued that these systems remain dynamic and that multiple speciation, each a candidate for the active site, often remains a consideration. A perspective on how X-ray spectroscopy and characterization tools in general, can be used to correlate the number of active sites and the rate of their formation, in single-site and redox catalyst systems, is presented. The importance of observing proportionality between spectra features and the reaction rate, to differentiate between active sites and spectator species is discussed. Performing characterisation under catalyticly relevant conditions on structures that are demonstrably representative of actual catalysts is essential.