Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 March 2020
Protocols for conducting in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) reactions using an environmental TEM with dry gases have been well established. However, many important reactions that are relevant to catalysis or high-temperature oxidation occur at atmospheric pressure and are influenced by the presence of water vapor. These experiments necessitate using a closed-cell gas reaction TEM holder. We have developed protocols for introducing and controlling water vapor concentrations in experimental gases from 2% at a full atmosphere to 100% at ~17 Torr, while measuring the gas composition using a residual gas analyzer (RGA) on the return side of the in situ gas reactor holder. Initially, as a model system, cube-shaped MgO crystals were used to help develop the protocols for handling the water vapor injection process and confirming that we could successfully inject water vapor into the gas cell. The interaction of water vapor with MgO triggered surface morphological and chemical changes as a result of the formation of Mg(OH)2, later validated with mass spectra obtained with our RGA system with and without water vapor. Integrating an RGA with an in situ scanning/TEM closed-cell gas reaction system can thus provide critical measurements correlating gas composition with dynamic surface restructuring of materials during reactions.