Many catalytic materials, especially the maximum valence transition metal oxides, are particularly susceptible to electron beam irradiation and thus undergo structural changes. Hence knowledge about the behaviour of catalytic materials under the electron beam is of importance for all TEM investigations of such materials. On the other hand, this effect can be utilised for an in-situ study of the reductive property, phase transition and/or phase stability of various transition metal oxides in an inert, simple ambient high-vacuum. The knowledge so obtained is needed for understanding the reduction mechanism of catalysts in more complicated chemical environments. in the present work, we study the electron beam induced change in MoO3 and TiO2 (anatase) by means of electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS), electron diffraction and high-resolution electron microscopy (HREM).
Molybdenum trioxide, MoO3, important as catalyst in the selective oxidation of hydrocarbons, forms an orthorhombic crystal layer structure. Fig. 1 shows oxygen AT-edges recorded at various irradiation periods in a Philips 200 FEG electron microscope.