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Nat Commun ; 10(1): 2546, 2019 06 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31186420


The hydrodesulfurization process is one of the cornerstones of the chemical industry, removing harmful sulfur from oil to produce clean hydrocarbons. The reaction is catalyzed by the edges of MoS2 nanoislands and is operated in hydrogen-oil mixtures at 5-160 bar and 260-380 °C. Until now, it has remained unclear how these harsh conditions affect the structure of the catalyst. Using a special-purpose high-pressure scanning tunneling microscope, we provide direct observations of an active MoS2 model catalyst under reaction conditions. We show that the active edge sites adapt their sulfur, hydrogen, and hydrocarbon coverages depending on the gas environment. By comparing these observations to density functional theory calculations, we propose that the dominant edge structure during the desulfurization of CH3SH contains a mixture of adsorbed sulfur and CH3SH.

J Phys Chem B ; 122(2): 788-793, 2018 01 18.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29039663


While continuum descriptions of oxide film growth are well established, the local structural dynamics during oxide growth are largely unexplored. Here, we investigate this using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for the example of alumina film growth on NiAl(110) following NO2 exposure. To maintain a well-defined system, we have adopted a cyclic growth approach of NO2 adsorption and annealing. NO2 adsorption at 693 K results in the formation of a vacancy island pattern in the NiAl(110) substrate, which is filled with AlOx by diffusion of O through the alumina film. The patches of AlOx coalesce to form smooth terraces upon annealing to 1200 K. By repeated cycling, we have grown films of up to 0.9 nm thick. While peak shifts in the XPS spectra indicate that the film maintains its insulating character upon thickening, our STM data show that there is a finite density of states within the band gap. The thickening of the alumina film is accompanied by the formation of trenches in the surface, which we interpret to be the result of film stress relief.

Ultramicroscopy ; 182: 233-242, 2017 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28734230


A combined X-ray and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) instrument is presented that enables the local detection of X-ray absorption on surfaces in a gas environment. To suppress the collection of ion currents generated in the gas phase, coaxially shielded STM tips were used. The conductive outer shield of the coaxial tips can be biased to deflect ions away from the tip core. When tunneling, the X-ray-induced current is separated from the regular, 'topographic' tunneling current using a novel high-speed separation scheme. We demonstrate the capabilities of the instrument by measuring the local X-ray-induced current on Au(1 1 1) in 800 mbar Ar.

Rev Sci Instrum ; 87(11): 113705, 2016 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27910601


We have developed a new instrument combining a scanning probe microscope (SPM) and an X-ray scattering platform for ambient-pressure catalysis studies. The two instruments are integrated with a flow reactor and an ultra-high vacuum system that can be mounted easily on the diffractometer at a synchrotron end station. This makes it possible to perform SPM and X-ray scattering experiments in the same instrument under identical conditions that are relevant for catalysis.