The ultimate objective of catalysis research has always been to be able to ‘see’ the nature of the catalytic active sites and the reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions to allow direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance (activity & selectivity) and reaction kinetics.

What is Operando Spectroscopy?
Spectroscopic characterization of catalysts under realistic reaction conditions with simultaneous real-time online analysis of reaction products.
What is the Goal of Combinatorial Operando Spectroscopy?

The accelerated development of quantitative molecular/electronic structure-activity/selectivity relationships for catalytic systems to provide the basis for rational design of novel catalytic materials as well as to improve existing catalytic processes based on scientific fundamental understanding.

Lehigh's Operando Combinatorial Spectroscopy System
The combinatorial operando spectroscopic system at Lehigh University consists of an automated confocal microscope equipped with multiple optical excitation sources
  • visible Raman (532 and 442 nm)
  • UV Raman (325 nm)
  • IR
  • UV-Vis

for real-time molecular spectroscopic analysis of catalytic active sites and surface reaction intermediates and simultaneous micro GC-MS for rapid online analysis of the reactor products.

The current combinatorial reactor system employs an 8-channel parallel microreactor for simultaneously obtaining molecular level spectroscopic and reaction kinetic data. The present reactor system is currently being further expanded to a 100-channel microreactor system and to operate at higher pressures. The 8-channel microreactor system is mounted on a programmable X-Y motorized stage that allows spatial positioning and timing of the spectroscopic data acquisition (spatial and temporal resolution). The optical microscope is equipped with an autofocus feature to take full advantage of the confocal optical microscope. In summary, the combinatorial operando spectroscopy-reactor system is fully automated once the catalysts have been loaded into the reactor channels.