In the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) Highlights 2014, two publications appeared, including results of the research performed at ESRF.
The article of Zoran Ristanovic and Bert Weckhuysen, entitled ‘Crystallographic architecture of a single zeolite ZSM-5 crystal’, describes their research on the crystallographic 3D structure of zeolite ZSM-5. Zeolite ZSM-5 is one of the most abundantly used catalysts in oil refining and petrochemical industries. The aim of the research was to investigate the structure and reactivity of zeolite ZSM-5 crystals. Synchrotron-based micro X-Ray diffraction was used to investigate the precise orientation of the porous network in individual subunits in zeolite ZSM-5 and their impact on uptake and diffusion of guest molecules.
The article of Andy Beale and Bert Weckhuysen, entitled ‘Illuminating the physical process of catalyst deactivation’, describes the results of their research on catalytic deactivation by sulfur poisoning. More specifically, sulfur-poisoning can affect catalytic processes by blocking active sites or induction of phase transformation. Experimental techniques used at ESRF where: X-Ray Diffraction Computed Tomography (XRD-CT), X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) and XRD (X-Ray Diffraction). XAFS and XRD mapping was used to determine the relative importance of poisoning via sulfur adsorption. XRD-CT was used for assessing crystalline phase distribution of Cu/ZnO catalysts.
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
The researchers use the Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble (France), for their X-ray experiments. A synchrotron is machine that produces bright X-ray light. This X-ray beam is then guided through a set of lenses and instruments called a beam line, where the X-rays illuminate and interact with samples of material being studied. Many countries operate synchrotrons—there are 10 in Europe—but only four worldwide are similar in design and power to the ESRF. The complete ESRF Scientific Highlights 2014 can be read on the ESRF website.