Understanding how heterogeneous catalysts change size, shape and structure during chemical reactions is limited by the paucity of methods for studying catalytic ensembles in working state, that is, in operando conditions. Here by a correlated use of synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy in operando conditions, we quantitatively describe the complex structural dynamics of supported Pt catalysts exhibited during an exemplary catalytic reaction-ethylene hydrogenation. This work exploits a microfabricated catalytic reactor compatible with both probes. The results demonstrate dynamic transformations of the ensemble of Pt clusters that spans a broad size range throughout changing reaction conditions. This method is generalizable to quantitative operando studies of complex systems using a wide variety of X-ray and electron-based experimental probes.
2015. Vol. 6, 7583