In Situ Study of Catalytic Processes: Neutron Diffraction of a Methanol Synthesis Catalyst at Industrially Relevant Pressure


  • The authors would like to thank M. Tovar, A. Daramsy, S. Olsen, and E. Stotz for technical support. Financial support was given by the DFG (BE 4767/1-1) and by the Bayerisches Wissenschaftsministerium (NW-0810-0002). ILL and ANSTO are acknowledged for the allocation of beamtime.


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Studying the workplace: An industrial methanol synthesis catalyst operating at high pressure was studied by in situ neutron diffraction. The peculiar microstructure of Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 nanocatalysts was found to be stable under reaction conditions. Stacking fault annealing and brass formation was only observed at temperatures higher than used in the methanol synthesis process, providing support for active role of defects in this catalyst system.