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The new generation of energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) detectors with higher count rates than ever before, paves the way for a new approach to quantitative elemental analysis in the scanning transmission electron microscope. Here we demonstrate a method of calculating partial cross sections for use in quantifying EDX data, beneficial especially because of the simplicity of its implementation. Applying this approach to acid-leached PtCo catalyst nanoparticles leads to quantitative determination of the Pt surface enrichment.
A tomographic heating holder for transmission electron microscopy that can be used to study supported catalysts at temperatures of up to ~1,500°C is described. The specimen is placed in direct thermal contact with a tungsten filament that is oriented perpendicular to the axis of the holder without using a support film, allowing tomographic image acquisition at high specimen tilt angles with minimum optical shadowing. We use the holder to illustrate the evolution of the active phases of Pt nanoparticles on carbon black and PtPd nanoparticles on γ-alumina with temperature. Particle size distributions and changes in active surface area are quantified from tilt series of images acquired after subjecting the specimens to increasing temperatures. The porosity of the alumina support and the sintering mechanisms of the catalysts are shown to depend on distance from the heating filament.