From atomistic to collective dynamics: Bridging gaps in gas-phase electron microscopy for catalysis

Thomas Willum Hansen, Marc Willinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Catalysis is a highly complex phenomenon involving fundamental processes on multiple length scales. The full-scale complexity of catalysis is only poorly understood, and how atomic-scale processes influence long-range order in the materials is not well documented experimentally. The result is that we still, to a large degree, develop new catalysts on the basis of iterative trial-and-error approaches. Elucidating the link between atomic-scale structural dynamics, feedback mechanisms, and collective behavior could be the key to a deeper understanding and further optimization of catalysts and processes. From imaging of quasi-static low-energy configurations through gas-phase-induced state switching to observation of complex nonequilibrium dynamics and oscillatory behavior, electron microscopy has provided novel insights over several length and time scales and has meanwhile matured from a service tool for catalyst researchers to a driving force in catalysis research. Here, we discuss new insights provided by novel instrumentation and the extension from in situ to operando investigations, enabling the study of mechanisms and kinetics of catalytic processes. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-851
Number of pages10
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Catalysis
  • In situ
  • Kinetics
  • Operando
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)


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