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Title: Quantitative Z-Contrast Imaging of Supported Metal Complexes and Clusters - A Gateway to Understanding Catalysis on the Atomic Scale

Z-contrast imaging in an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope can be used to observe and quantify the sizes, shapes, and compositions of the metal frames in supported mono-, bi-, and multimetallic metal clusters and can even detect the metal atoms in single-metal-atom complexes, as well as providing direct structural information characterizing the metal-support interface. Herein, we assess the major experimental challenges associated with obtaining atomic resolution Z-contrast images of the materials that are highly beam-sensitive, that is, the clusters readily migrate and sinter on support surfaces, and the support itself can drastically change in structure if the experiment is not properly controlled. Calibrated and quantified Z-contrast images are used in conjunction with exsitu analytical measurements and larger-scale characterization methods such as extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy to generate an atomic-scale understanding of supported catalysts and their function. Examples of the application of these methods include the characterization of a wide range of sizes and compositions of supported clusters, primarily those incorporating Ir, Os, and Au, on highly crystalline supports (zeolites and MgO).
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: ChemCatChem, 5(9):2673–2683
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
cluster compounds; electron microscopy; EXAFS spectroscopy; metal-support interactions; structure elucidation; supported catalysts