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NMR Imaging of Catalytic Hydrogenation in Microreactors with the Use of para-Hydrogen

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Science  25 Jan 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5862, pp. 442-445
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151787

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Abstract

Catalysis is vital to industrial chemistry, and the optimization of catalytic reactors attracts considerable resources. It has proven challenging to correlate the active regions in heterogeneous catalyst beds with morphology and to monitor multistep reactions within the bed. We demonstrate techniques, using magnetic resonance imaging and para-hydrogen (p-H2) polarization, that allow direct visualization of gas-phase flow and the density of active catalyst in a packed-bed microreactor, as well as control over the dynamics of the polarized state in space and time to facilitate the study of subsequent reactions. These procedures are suitable for characterizing reactors and reactions in microfluidic devices where low sensitivity of conventional magnetic resonance would otherwise be the limiting factor.

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