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Nanoscale Chemical Imaging of an Individual Catalyst Particle with Soft X‑ray Ptychography

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journal contribution
posted on 26.02.2016 by Anna M. Wise, Johanna Nelson Weker, Sam Kalirai, Maryam Farmand, David A. Shapiro, Florian Meirer, Bert M. Weckhuysen
Understanding Fe deposition in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysis is critical for the mitigation of catalyst degradation. Here we employ soft X-ray ptychography to determine at the nanoscale the distribution and chemical state of Fe in an aged FCC catalyst particle. We show that both particle swelling due to colloidal Fe deposition and Fe penetration into the matrix as a result of precracking of large organic molecules occur. The application of ptychography allowed us to provide direct visual evidence for these two distinct Fe-based deactivation mechanisms, which have so far been proposed only on the basis of indirect evidence.