Analyzing catalysts

New transmission electron microscope on campus

Dr. Walid Hetaba at the TEM

Transmission electron microscopy is a versatile method to investigate materials with atomic resolution. At the MPI CEC, a new electron microscope Talos F200X was recently acquired and put into operation.

The scientists at the institute use this highly specialized device, for example, to analyze how the electronic structure of a catalyst changes. Besides a high spatial resolution, TEM can also be used to investigate the crystalline structure of the samples.

The measurements that can be obtained with TEM complement the other analytical methods at the MPI CEC - e.g. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) - very well and allow an even more comprehensive characterization of (catalytic) materials, which ultimately contribute to the production of improved materials for energy conversion. 

Technical Details:

The microscope can be operated at 200 kV as well as 80 kV acceleration voltage. Spatial resolution of 120 to 160 pm can be achieved, depending on the operational mode. Using electron diffraction, the crystallinity of samples can be investigated.

Regarding analytical investigations the new machine provides numerous possibilities. It is equipped with 4 X-ray detectors (EDX) which can be used to investigate the elemental composition at a spatial resolution of up to 160 pm. Furthermore, a spectrometer to perform electron energy-loss spectrometry (EELS) is available. Using this technique, not only the elemental composition can be investigated, but also the electronic structure at the same high spatial resolution.

The new transmission electron microscope is equipped with a dedicated sample holder which allows for electron tomography to be performed. Additionally, within the next months a new method to investigate samples under inert conditions will be tested.

Contact: Dr. Walid Hetaba