Electron Microscopy Techniques to Study Structure/Function Relationships in Catalytic Materials

  • Álvaro Mayoral
  • Paz del AngelEmail author
  • Manuel Ramos


The study of atomistic structure/function relationships on matter, by achieving direct observations of their corresponding atomic structures using “electrons” in comparison of full-light spectrum, as it is usually done in conventional optic devices, has been possible with the aid of field-emission gun instruments such as scanning and transmission electron microscopes, and more importantly with the implementation of the spherical aberration correctors in the transmission equipment, a powerful tool that has gained more and more usage in the last two decades. Here, we present a series of cases of study applying this fundamental characterization technique for the understanding of catalytic active sites, morphology, and other structure/function relationships, for low-dimension catalytic materials. The chapter comprises cases of study to determine atomistic features as completed in complex zeolite crystalline structure, mixed transition metal oxides such as tungsten–zirconia (WO3–ZrO2), metallic nanoparticles, and layered transition metal sulfides which are highly used in many hydroprocessing and photocatalytic reactions, as well as some data aspects about “in situ operando” techniques as achieved during electron microscopy observations.


Electron microscopy Catalysis Nanostructures Clusters Material science Structure and function Characterization Zeolites Oxides Transition metals 



Chapter author: Prof. Dr. Alvaro Mayoral thank FEDER-Construyendo Europa desde Aragón for research economical funding. Prof. Dr. Paz del Angel thank Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo, Mexico City, for usage of research facilities and equipment, and The Kleberg Advanced Microscopy Center of University of Texas at San Antonio for usage of electron microscopy facilities. Prof. Dr. Manuel Ramos thank Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Mexico, for research economical support grant solicitation #207997; The Microelectronics Research Center of University of Texas at Austin for usage of electron microscope instrument; The Department of Physics and Mathematics of Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez for research economical support by solicitation PROMEP-Mexico grant #103.5/11/4377/NPTC/260-UACJ; and Materials Research and Technology of University of Texas at El Paso. The Centre for High-resolution Electron Microscopy (CħEM), supported by SPST of ShanghaiTech University under contract No. EM02161943 and the NSFC (21850410448, 21835002).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for High-resolution Electron Microscopy (CћEM), School of Physical Science and Technology (SPST)ShanghaiTech UniversityShanghai 201210China
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Microscopía ElectrónicaInstituto Mexicano del PetróleoCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  3. 3.Departamento de Física y Matemáticas, Instituto de Ingeniería y TecnologíaUniversidad Autónoma de Cd. JuárezChihuahuaMexico

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