Accurate descriptions of dispersed metals are of central importance in optimizing the activity, selec-tivity and stability of a diverse set of catalysts and chemistries. Improved methods for quantifying metal dispersion, alloying and support interactions help form mechanistic understandings of catalyst function at the atomic scale. In this paper we discuss ideal capabilities of a transmission electron microscope for catalysis, and give an update on the use of a next-generation field-emission TEM/STEM for structural and analytical studies of supported metal catalysts.
Characterizing nanometer-sized metal particles requires high performance imaging, high sensitivity analysis, and minimal disruption of the physical state of the particles. No single microscope combines all key performance factors with ease of use. Schottky field-emitter instruments provide high current-density probes with excellent stage stability (nm drifts in > 10 min. observed), < 0.7 eV energy reso-lution for EELS, and a turbo-pumped vacuum system for minimal carbon contamination while using nanometer probes and nanoamps of current. Scanning TEM performance is also key.