Nature Communications article on 3-D mapping of single aluminum atoms in zeolites

An international team of researchers, among which Zoran Ristanović and Bert Weckhuysen, was the first to make a detailed 3-D scan of individual aluminium atoms in a zeolite crystal. Their results are published in Nature Communications.

For decades, zeolites have been used as a catalyst in the conversion of crude oil to fuel, but until recently, it was largely unknown why these zeolites are such good catalysts. This international team, including scientist from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, petroleum refining technology company UOP LLC and Utrecht University, has come a step closer to explaining how zeolite catalysts work. The researchers have found an innovative way to locate – with atomic precision – active regions within the material where chemical reactions take place and other regions where the material is dead. With this knowledge, scientists can improve catalysts that help produce fuel and other important chemicals.

Determining the Location and Nearest Neighbors of Aluminum in Zeolites with Atom Probe Tomography
Daniel E. Perea, Ilke Arslan, Jia Liu, Zoran Ristanović, Libor Kovarik, Bruce W. Arey, Johannes A. Lercher, Simon R. Bare and Bert M. Weckhuysen
Nature Communications, 2015, 6, 7589, published online on 2 July 2015.

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