Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Visualisation of single atom dynamics in water gas shift reaction for hydrogen generation

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle


Open Access permissions



Pratibha L. Gai, Kenta Yoshida, Michael R. Ward, Michael Walsh, Richard Baker, Leon van der Water, Mike J. Watson, Edward D. Boyes

School/Research organisations


The water gas shift (WGS) reaction, CO+H2O = CO2 + H2, is the basis of heterogeneous catalysis important in the generation of clean hydrogen energy for fuel cells, transportation fuels and in ammonia manufacture. Ceria supported gold and related nanoparticles are potentially viable catalysts for the low temperature WGS reaction. The WGS catalytic reaction is a dynamic process and takes place on the solid catalyst surface at the atomic level. The current understanding of the reaction is inferred from studies of static catalysts and from indirect chemical studies without single atom sensitivity. Therefore the nature of dynamic atomic processes in the WGS reaction has remained inaccessible. Since the catalyst reaction site and atomic processes by which it activates and deactivates, change both in magnitude and mechanism with the reaction environment it is of fundamental importance to visualise the dynamic catalyst at the atomic level in WGS (CO + water mixture) environments, in real time. Novel environmental (scanning) transmission electron microscope with singe atom resolution is used herein to directly visualise and characterise, in real time, evolving atomic structures and processes in practical gold/ceria catalysts in controlled WGS environments. The in-situ observations in WGS have revealed the formation of clusters of only a few gold atoms resulting from single atom dynamics and the catalytic effect of low coordination surface sites. The new insights have important implications for applications of nanoparticles in chemical process technologies including for transportation fuels and emission control.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2214-2227
JournalCatalysis Science & Technology
Issue number7
Early online date13 Nov 2015
StatePublished - 7 Apr 2016

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Physicochemical properties of nanostructured Pd/lanthanide-doped ceria spheres with high catalytic activity for CH4 combustion

    Fuentes, R. O., Acuña, L. M., Leyva, A. G., Baker, R. T., Pan, H., Chen, X. & Delgado-Jaén, J. F. 7 May 2018 In : Journal of Materials Chemistry A. 6, 17, p. 7488-7499 12 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Ionic conductivity in multiply substituted ceria-based electrolytes

    Coles-Aldridge, A. V. & Baker, R. T. Mar 2018 In : Solid State Ionics. 316, p. 9-19 11 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Effect of the synthesis conditions on the properties of La0.15Sm0.35Sr0.08Ba0.42FeO3 − δ cathode material for SOFCs

    Vidal, K., Larrañaga, A., Morán-Ruiz, A., Laguna-Bercero, M. A., Baker, R. T. & Arriortua, M. I. Dec 2017 In : Powder Technology. 322, p. 131-139 9 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  4. Influence of electrolytes of Li salts, EMIMBF4 and mixed phases on electrochemical and physical properties of Nafion membrane

    Safari, M., Naji, L., Baker, R. T. & Afshar Taromi, F. 15 Sep 2017 In : Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 134, 35, 45239

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  5. Acetylene hydrogenation over structured Au-Pd catalysts

    McCue, A. J., Baker, R. & Anderson, J. A. 1 Jul 2016 In : Faraday Discussions. 188, p. 449-523 25 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Related by journal

  1. M3+O(-Mn4+)2 clusters in doped MnOx catalysts as promoted active sites for aerobic oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural

    Yu, K., Liu, Y., Lei, D., Jiang, Y., Wang, Y., Feng, Y., Lou, L-L., Liu, S. & Zhou, W. 13 Apr 2018 In : Catalysis Science & Technology. Accepted Manuscript

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewReview article

  2. Synthesis and activation for catalysis of Fe-SAPO-34 prepared using iron polyamine complexes as structure directing agents

    Turrina, A., Dugulan, A. I., Collier, J., Walton, R. I., Casci, J. L. & Wright, P. 29 Aug 2017 In : Catalysis Science & Technology. 7, 19, p. 4366-4374

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Electronic and bite angle effects in catalytic C-O bond cleavage of a lignin model compound using ruthenium xantphos complexes

    Shaw, L., Somisara, D. M. U. K., How, R. C., Westwood, N. J., Bruijnincx, P. C. A., Weckhuysen, B. M. & Kamer, P. C. J. 7 Feb 2017 In : Catalysis Science & Technology. 7, 3, p. 619-626 8 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  4. Isomerisation versus carbonylative pathways in the hydroxy-carbonylation, methoxy-carbonylation, and amino-carbonylation of N-tosyl-3-pyrroline

    Fuentes García, J. A., Durrani, J., Leckie, S. M., Crawford, L., Buehl, M. & Clarke, M. 21 Oct 2016 In : Catalysis Science & Technology. 6, 20, p. 7477-7485 9 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

ID: 238140021