The main objective of this internal research program is the development and application of synchrotron techniques to the investigation of the electronic and structural properties of catalysts in real time and in the operating conditions close from those in which the chemical reactions occur.
Catalysts are substances used as facilitators of chemical reactions in almost all industrial processes involving the processing of primary products. The search for more efficient and affordable catalysts is an extremely active area of scientific research with direct impact on the economy, quality of life and environment. As these substances promote chemical reactions through changes in their own crystalline structure or their electronic configurations, experimental techniques using synchrotron light are particularly adapted tools for the rational design of catalysts.
Thus, most of the scientific results of this program focus on the use of synchrotron radiation and the development of experimental settings and detection schemes able to follow in real time structural and oxidation changes in catalysts. This is done through the design and construction of furnaces, reactors and special cameras that can simulate the environment of the catalytic reaction, and, at the same time, allow the incidence of the synchrotron radiation beam on the sample, and the detection of the diffracted, transmitted or fluorescence beam.
In the UVX synchrotron light source, the beamlines XAFS1, XAFS2, XRD1 and XPD are the main experimental stations where projects in this program are currently run. They share the infrastructure required for in situ experiments in X-ray spectroscopy and diffraction. The DXAS beamline also contributes to this program by performing X-ray spectroscopy in real time.