Our paper with Utrecht University, NL, was chosen for the cover of Chemical Communications, a journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Special thanks to DongLong Fu in Dr. Bert Weckhuysen’s group, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science (DINS), Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and Katie Park, Molecular Vista, for their pivotal work on this exciting collaboration!
The collaboration resulted in the publication, “Nanoscale Infrared Imaging of Zeolites Using Photoinduced Force Microscopy“, a part of the themed collection: Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867).
Characterizing the structures of zeolites and their catalytic performance with high-spatial-resolution is vital to developing new solid catalysts. We demonstrate the application of photoinduced force microscopy (PiFM), with nanometer scale resolution across the infrared spectral range, for the study of zeolite ZSM-5 thin-films with various Si/Al ratios after the methanol-to-hydrocarbons reaction. This first-of-its kind nanometer scale infrared imaging of zeolite materials demonstrates the possibility of PiFM for the study of functional porous materials.
In this paper, DongLong Fu expressed the difficulty of characterizing the structures of zeolites and their catalytic performance with high-spatial-resolution. However, “The recently developed, probe molecule-free photoinduced force microscopy (PiFM) can offer a lateral spatial resolution of ∼10 nm and probing depth of ∼30 nm by probing the mid-IR dipole–dipole moment interaction between the atomic force microscopy (AFM) tip and the catalyst.” Nanoscale microscopy may provide insights to improve materials for the purpose of petroleum refining and industrial chemical manufacturing. Dr. Weckhuysen et al explored the nanometer scale framework and product/coke distribution in zeolite thin-films. Photo-induced Force microscopy (PiFM) showed the potential to further study zeolite growth mechanisms and develop structure-relations with nanometer resolution and unprecedented sensitivity.