Catalysts are the unsung heroes of chemistry, accelerating reactions used to make fertilizers, fuels and consumer products. SUNCAT’s focus is on improving catalysts for making chemicals and fuels with renewable energy.
The ultrafast, ultrabright X-ray pulses of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) have enabled unprecedented views of a catalyst in action, an important step in the effort to develop cleaner and more efficient energy sources.
Their work aims to bridge two approaches to driving the reaction – one powered by heat, the other by electricity – with the goal of discovering more efficient and sustainable ways to convert carbon dioxide into useful products.
With a new suite of tools, scientists discovered exactly how tiny plate-like catalyst particles carry out a key step in that conversion – the evolution of oxygen in an electrocatalytic cell – in unprecedented detail.