An article co-authored by Franklin (Feng) Tao was published in Science magazine, and Tao and his collaborator, Miquel Salmeron of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, gave a video speech on the journal's website highlighting the significance of in-situstudies of chemistry and structure of catalysts under reaction conditions.
Tao's research focuses on synthesis of nanocatalysts for efficient energy conversion, measurement of activity and selectivity of nanocatalysts, and in-situ studies of structure and chemistry of non-supported and supported nanocatalysts. The laboratory uses an in-house ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectrometer and highpressure scanning tunneling microscope designed by Tao and Specs Inc. for catalysis studies.
The article explains that recently-developed techniques allow observation of new chemistry and new structures of materials that are present only under reaction conditions. The advances offer opportunities for establishing the relationship between surface structure and composition during operation and their chemical properties, helping to understand the mechanisms at work and to enable the design of improved materials.