Chemistry & Catalysis


• Characterising dispersions, emulsions, partially ordered materials, detergents, surfactants and colloidal solutions.


• In situ qualitative and quantitative measurements during catalysis, at millisecond time resolutions and across wide concentration ranges.


• Characterising the morphology of surfaces, thin films and interfaces (e.g. roughness, thickness, composition etc...), including liquid/liquid, liquid/solid, liquid/air and solid/air.


• Studying the core and/or shell of micelles under various conditions (e.g. temperature, shear, concentration etc...), including in situ studies of surfactant molecular interactions.


• Studying chemical reactions and industrial processes at the atomic level under both dynamic and steady state conditions, and also probing reaction intermediates.


• Interactions between particles and other substances (e.g. pollutants, polymers, etc...).


• Determining the distribution and dimensions of particles and pores.


• Studying the rheological properties of liquids to help optimise their viscosity for specific manufacturing, cooling and lubrication applications.


• Identifying and characterising chemical contaminants.


Nanoscale characterisation of the shape, size and density of molecular aggregates.


• Obtaining information about chemical bonds.


• Analysing the shape, size and density of nanoparticles and catalyst particles, and phase distributions in catalyst pellets.


Inelastic neutron scattering

Industrial chemists from an Italian company regularly use inelastic neutron scattering to characterise the surface chemistry of complex materials containing activated carbons. This technique allows the vibrational spectra of the hydrogenous species in carbons to be observed. This kind of measurement can reveal new opportunities to optimise the design of support materials used in electro-catalysts.



Researchers from a leading car manufacturer used energy-dispersive X-ray absorption scattering and in situ transmission electron microscopy to study catalysis in a working vehicle exhaust system. The results revealed an oxidative redispersion of Pt nanoparticles during quick redox cycling that could potentially extend the lifetime of vehicle catalysts.


Fischer-Tropsch catalyst pellets

Researchers from a leading energy company, in collaboration with other partners, investigated Fischer-Tropsch catalyst pellets in action using a combination of X-ray diffraction-based computed tomography and pair distribution function computed tomography. The combination of techniques was used to unravel the complex Co nanoparticle phase evolution and provided the researchers with a complete understanding of structure-activity relationships in catalytic systems.