Study by Synchrotron Radiation of the Structure of a Working Catalyst at High Temperatures and Pressures

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Science  10 May 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4700, pp. 717-719
DOI: 10.1126/science.228.4700.717


A relation among activity, composition, and structure was determined for a working catalyst by means of a stainless-steel reactor cell of novel design that permitted operation at temperatures and pressures similar to those in industrial reactors. Molybdenum K-edge x-ray absorption spectra were used to probe the structural environment of molybdenum in CoMoS/[unknown]-alumina catalysts while hydro-desulfurization of benzothiophene was proceeding at high temperature and pressure. For catalyst samples with different contents of cobalt, radial structure functions obtained from extended x-ray absorption fine structure data presented the same features as those obtained from the spectra of MoS2/[unknown]-alumina reference samples. Moreover, Mo-S and Mo-Mo coordination numbers were maximum for the sample with an atomic ratio of Co to (Co + Mo) of 0.33; this sample was also the most active catalyst tested.