Operando Characterization of Catalysts through use of a Portable Microreactor

Shen Zhao, Yuanyuan Li, Eli Stavitski, Ryan Tappero, Stephen Crowley, Marco J. Castaldi, Dmitri N. Zakharov, Ralph G. Nuzzo, Anatoly I. Frenkel, Eric A. Stach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to more deeply understand the mechanisms of catalytic reactions, improved methods are needed to monitor changes that occur in the electronic, structural, and chemical properties of catalytic systems under the conditions in which they work. We describe here a microreactor-based approach that integrates the capabilities of advanced X-ray, electron, optical, and gas-phase compositional analysis techniques under operando conditions. For several exemplary catalytic systems, we demonstrate how this approach enables the characterization of three of the major factors that contribute to structure-property correlations in heterogeneous catalysis. Specifically, we describe how this approach can be used to better understand the atomic structure and elemental composition of nanocatalysts, the physiochemical properties of the support and catalyst/support interfaces, and the gas- and surface-phase chemistry that occurs under operando conditions. We highlight the generality of the approach, as well as opportunities for future developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3683-3691
Number of pages9
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 16 2015


  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • microreactors
  • operando spectroscopy and microscopy
  • structure-activity relationships
  • supported catalysts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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