Bert M Weckhuysen

Bert M Weckhuysen
Utrecht University | UU · Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science (DINS)

PhD
Chemical imaging of solid catalysts at macro, meso and micro scales, from the reactor down to single molecules & atoms

About

1,070
Publications
247,747
Reads
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51,991
Citations
Citations since 2016
454 Research Items
32817 Citations
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Introduction
The goal is the development of in-situ & operando spectroscopy and microscopy for studying catalytic solids under realistic conditions. This approach has provided unique insights in the working & deactivation mechanisms of catalytic processes, as well as in the internal architecture of solid catalysts. The goal is to shed detailed new insight in the working principles of catalytic solids while they work (i.e., at high temperatures and pressures, and under real-life conditions).
Additional affiliations
October 2000 - present
Utrecht University
Position
  • Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis

Publications

Publications (1,070)
Article
Full-text available
Gasification is a process to transform solids, such as agricultural and municipal waste, into gaseous feedstock for making transportation fuels. The so‐called coarse solid residue (CSR) that remains after this conversion process is currently discarded as a process solid residue. In the context of transitioning from a linear to a circular society, w...
Article
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Zeolite-catalyzed benzene ethylation is an important industrial reaction, as it is the first step in the production of styrene for polymer manufacturing. Furthermore, it is a prototypical example of aromatic electrophilic substitution, a key reaction in the synthesis of many bulk and fine chemicals. Despite extensive research, the reaction mechanis...
Article
Contaminants of heavy metals and antibiotics, which are frequently detected in water, soil and food chains with increasing prevalence in our current society, can cause potential harm to human health and disrupt human ecosystem irreversibly. Herein, we have successfully utilized biomass waste ferns contaminated by iron mines, to fabricate a first-of...
Article
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Pt/Sn‐containing MFI zeolites prepared by one‐pot hydrothermal methods are highly active and selective catalysts for propane dehydrogenation. An alternative preparation method is reported alongside an in‐depth characterization of Pt and Sn before and after reaction. Pt species dispersed on highly‐defective Silicalite‐1 show a significantly long cat...
Article
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Metal–zeolite composites with metal (oxide) and acid sites are promising catalysts for integrating multiple reactions in tandem to produce a wide variety of wanted products without separating or purifying the intermediates. However, the conventional design of such materials often leads to uncontrolled and non-ideal spatial distributions of the meta...
Article
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Dual-fluorescence carbon dots have great potential as nanosensors in life and materials sciences. Such carbon dots can be obtained via a solvothermal synthesis route with glutathione and formamide. In this work, we show that the dual-fluorescence emission of the synthesis products does not originate from a single carbon dot emitter, but rather from...
Article
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Transforming carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals and fuels, is a promising tool for environmental and industrial purposes. Here, we present catalysts comprising of cobalt (oxide) nanoparticles stabilized on various support oxides for hydrocarbon production from carbon dioxide. We demonstrate that the activity and selectivity can be tuned by sele...
Article
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The methanol-to-hydrocarbons (MTH) process, commonly catalyzed by zeolites, is of great commercial interest and therefore widely studied both in industry and academia. However, zeolite-based catalyst materials are notoriously hard to study at the nano-scale. Atom probe tomography (APT) is uniquely positioned among the suite of characterization tech...
Article
Catalysis is at the core of chemistry and has been essential to make all the goods surrounding us, including fuels, coatings, plastics and other functional materials. In the near future, catalysis will also be an essential tool in making the shift from a fossil-fuel-based to a more renewable and circular society. To make this reality, we have to be...
Article
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To control diesel vehicle NO x emissions, Cu-exchanged zeolites have been applied in the selective catalytic reduction of NO using NH 3 as reductant. In this work, the local structure of Cu ²⁺ in zeolite ZSM-5 has been revealed by operando spectroscopies.
Article
Single-molecule tracking is used to follow the motion of individual molecules. In their Communication (DOI: 10.1002/anie.202114388), Bert M. Weckhuysen and co-workers compare the molecules’ motion behavior in different zeolite channel geometries at the single-molecule level. This approach provides mechanistic insight in the channel geometry–diffusi...
Article
Einzelmolekül-Tracking wird eingesetzt, um die Bewegung einzelner Moleküle zu verfolgen. In ihrer Zuschrift (DOI: 10.1002/ange.202114388) vergleichen Bert M. Weckhuysen und Mitarbeiter das Bewegungsverhalten der Moleküle in verschiedenen Zeolith-Kanalgeometrien auf Einzelmolekülebene. Dieser Ansatz bietet mechanistische Einblicke in die Beziehungen...
Article
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Some fundamental concepts of catalysis are not fully explained but are of paramount importance for the development of improved catalysts. An example is the concept of structure insensitive reactions, where surface-normalized activity does not change with catalyst metal particle size. Here we explore this concept and its relation to surface reconstr...
Article
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Metal-organic framework (MOF) crystallization is governed by molecular assembly processes in the pre-nucleation stage. Yet, unravelling these pre-nucleation pathways and rationalizing their impact on crystal formation poses a great challenge since probing molecular-scale assemblies and macroscopic particles simultaneously is very complex. Herein, w...
Article
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Solid catalysts are complex, multi-component materials with large interparticle heterogeneities that hamper statistically relevant in-depth catalyst characterization. Here we introduce an automated high-throughput screening and sorting method for catalyst particles. A droplet microreactor was developed for fluorescence-activated sorting of catalyst...
Article
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Understanding the impact of shaping processes on solid adsorbents is critical for the implementation of MOFs in industrial separation processes or as catalytic materials. Production of MOF‐containing shaped particles is typically associated with loss of porosity and modification of acid sites, two phenomena that affect their performance. Herein, we...
Article
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Technical lignins are increasingly available at industrial scale, offering opportunities for valorization, such as by (partial) depolymerization. Any downstream lignin application requires careful tailoring of structural properties, such as molecular weight or functional group density, properties that are difficult to control or predict given the s...
Article
During olefin polymerization on supported catalysts, the controlled morphological evolution of the catalyst particle is vital for ensuring optimal product properties and high catalyst activity. We employed non-destructive hard X-ray holotomography to quantitatively assess the 3D morphology of multiple silica-supported hafnocene-based catalyst parti...
Article
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The development of improved zeolite materials for applications in separation and catalysis requires understanding of mass transport. Herein, diffusion of single molecules is tracked in the straight and sinusoidal channels of the industrially relevant ZSM‐5 zeolites using a combination of single‐molecule localization microscopy and uniformly oriente...
Article
The development of improved zeolite materials for applications in separation and catalysis requires understanding of mass transport. Herein, diffusion of single molecules is tracked in the straight and sinusoidal channels of the industrially relevant ZSM‐5 zeolites using a combination of single‐molecule localization microscopy and uniformly oriente...
Article
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Kinetics-based differences in the early stage fragmentation of two structurally analogous silica-supported hafnocene- and zirconocene-based catalysts were observed during gas-phase ethylene polymerization at low pressures. A combination of focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) and nanoscale infrared photoinduced force microscopy (...
Preprint
Full-text available
Millimeter- and micrometer-sized plastics are well-documented in aquatic ecosystems, but little is known about sub-micrometer particles because conventional analytical techniques lack sufficient spatial resolution or the spectroscopic means to unambiguously identify individual nanometer-sized plastic particles. We combined the spatial resolution of...
Article
The modes of deactivation -and the extent to which their properties can be restored- of two catalyst bodies used in cascade for bio-oil synthesis have been studied. These catalysts include a solid acid granulate (namely ZrO2/desilicated zeolite ZSM-5/attapulgite clay) employed in ex-situ catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass, and a base extrudate (K-...
Article
Artificially mimicking ageing of an equilibrium catalyst (ECAT) is an effective strategy to model the deactivation of a Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) catalyst during refinery operations. Herein, we have used a correlative microscopy approach to unravel inter-particle spatial heterogeneities in artificially deactivated catalysts (DCATs) and compare...
Article
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Spectroscopic insight into aqueous phase catalytic reactions under realistic conditions aids detailed understanding and fosters further improvements. However, this is also very challenging, particularly in the liquid phase, given the typically elevated temperatures and pressures employed. Here, we report an operando Attenuated Total Reflectance‐Inf...
Article
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The Front Cover shows an attenuated Total Reflection Infrared spectroscopy (ATR‐IR) probe monitoring a chemical reaction in the liquid phase, particularly water, at demanding conditions. The light penetrates few microns deep in proximity of the ATR‐IR probe and thus any IR‐active entity in that range is probed. This research systematically addresse...
Article
Invited for this month's cover is the group of Bert M. Weckhuysen at the Utrecht University (The Netherlands). The cover picture shows an attenuated Total Reflection Infrared spectroscopy (ATR‐IR) probe monitoring a chemical reaction in the liquid phase, particularly water, at demanding conditions. The light penetrates few microns deep in proximity...
Article
Biofuel production can be a viable option for alleviating current heavy reliance on fossil resources and the related carbon dioxide emission issue. Hydrodeoxygenation refers collectively to a series of important biorefinery processes to produce biofuels. Here, we show that well‐dispersed and ultra‐small Ru metal nanoclusters (~ 1 nm), confined with...
Article
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Commercialization of CH4 valorization processes is currently hampered by the lack of suitable catalysts, which should be active, selective, and stable. CH4 oxychlorination is one of the promising routes to directly functionalize CH4, and lanthanide-based catalysts show great potential for this reaction, although relatively little is known about the...
Article
The Cover Feature illustrates the use of operando shell‐isolated nanoparticle‐enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SHINERS) for determining surface species of the NO reduction reaction over rhodium‐based catalysts. More information can be found in the Article by Bert M. Weckhuysen and co‐workers.
Article
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The effects of calcination temperature on Pd/γ-alumina catalysts were studied using a variety of techniques to measure particle sizes, surface species, and activity in methane combustion. Pd/Al2O3 catalysts were synthesized using a new impregnation-vortexing method. Three catalysts containing 3.3 wt.% Pd/Al2O3 were calcined at 150 °C, 250 °C, and 5...
Article
Biofuel production can be a viable option for alleviating current heavy reliance on fossil resources and the related carbon dioxide emission issue. Hydrodeoxygenation refers collectively to a series of important biorefinery processes to produce biofuels. Here, we show that well‐dispersed and ultra‐small Ru metal nanoclusters (~ 1 nm), confined with...
Article
Full-text available
Ziegler-type catalysts are the grand old workhorse of the polyolefin industry, yet their hierarchically complex nature complicates polymerization activity–catalyst structure relationships. In this work, the degree of catalyst framework fragmentation of a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) Ziegler-type catalyst was studied using ptychography X-ray-com...
Article
The Front Cover shows an imaginary police line‐up of two molecules suspected to be involved as intermediates in the catalytic ketonization reaction. Based on the evidence collected, depicted on the pinboard on the wall, the scientist discusses the impact of all this with somebody interested in catalysis that converts waste, wastewater‐derived volat...
Article
Invited for this month′s cover is the group of Pieter Bruijnincx from Utrecht University. The image shows an imaginary police line‐up of two molecules suspected to be involved as intermediates in the catalytic ketonization reaction. Based on the evidence collected, depicted on the pinboard on the wall, the scientist discusses the impact of all this...
Article
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p class="Abstract" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 30pt; text‐align: justify; line‐height: 11.25pt; font‐size: 8pt; font‐family: Arial, sans‐serif; caret‐color: rgb(0, 0, 0); color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> Operando Shell‐Isolated Nanoparticle‐Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SHINERS) with on‐line mass spectrometry (MS) has been used to investigate the surface species,...
Article
Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) is an industrial catalytic process that converts a mixture of CO and hydrogen into long-chain hydrocarbons. These products are used as clean transportation fuels and chemical building blocks. The solid catalysts used in the process are complex multi-component systems. Therefore, unambiguously determining the catalyti...
Article
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On the path to finding better catalysts for polyolefin plastic waste conversion to aromatics, we have found that a waste refinery catalyst performed better than the fresh catalyst with decreased accumulation of deactivating carbonaceous deposits. Fluorescence microscopy and vibrational spectroscopy has been used to elucidate the interaction of the...
Article
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Polyolefins make up a large share of our plastic waste. In this work, we investigated the conversion of polypropylene (PP) over the industrial catalyst used to produce gasoline in the Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) process of crude oil fractions. We investigated transport limitations arising from the comparatively larger size of polymer chains comp...
Article
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The choice of TiO 2 crystal phase, i.e., anatase, rutile or brookite, greatly influences catalyst performance in the gas-phase ketonization of small volatile fatty acids, such as acetic acid and propionic acid. Rutile TiO 2 was found to perform best, combining superior activity, as exemplified by an exceptional reaction rate of 141.8 mmol·(h·g cat...
Article
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The most recent global health and economic crisis caused by the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak has shown us that it is vital to be prepared for the next global threat, be it caused by pollutants, chemical toxins or biohazards. Therefore, we need to develop environments in which infectious diseases and dangerous chemicals cannot be spread or misused so easily....
Article
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Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) have the potential to change the landscape of molecular separations in chemical processes owing to their ability of selectively binding molecules. Their molecular sorting properties generally rely on the micro- and meso-pore structure, as well as on the presence of coordinatively unsaturated sites that interact with...
Article
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The degradation of plastic waste in aquatic environments, leading to plastic particles at the micro‐ and nanoscale is of growing concern. However, conventional analytical techniques either lack sufficient spatial resolution or the necessary spectroscopic means to investigate individual plastic nanoparticles. Both are however necessary to understand...
Article
The Front Cover shows a polystyrene nanoplastics and how they are detected with photo‐induced force microscopy infrared spectroscopy. This method overcomes the diffraction limit of infrared light by employing a nano‐sized tip as detector. Oxidative degradation and chain scission occurred on the surface of the polystyrene nanoplastics in salt water,...
Article
Invited for this month's cover is the group of Bert M. Weckhuysen and Florian Meirer at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). The cover picture shows polystyrene nanoplastics and how they are detected with photo‐induced force microscopy. This method overcomes the diffraction limit of infrared light by employing a nano‐sized tip as detector. Oxidati...
Article
Zeolite catalysts often display highly intergrown structures, yielding a zeolite “flower” or “sun” at the microscale. Using small‐angle X‐ray scattering and in‐situ fluorescence microscopy, Bert M. Weckhuysen et al. show in their Communication (DOI: 10.1002/anie.202101747) that porosity is developed only in specific segments of zeolites, which migh...
Article
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Nanoporous solids, including microporous, mesoporous and hierarchically structured porous materials, are of scientific and technological interest because of their high surface-to-volume ratio and ability to impose shape- and size-selectivity on molecules diffusing through them. Enormous efforts have been put in the mechanistic understanding of diff...