High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry Studies of Heterogeneous Catalytic Reactions


Deborah E. Hunka Sandia National Laboratories

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One of the challenges facing chemists from a variety of disciplines (e.g., catalysis, biochemistry, materials science) is to determine the identity of unknowns, mechanisms and kinetics of reactions, and the nature and stability of intermediates. For example, understanding the mechanisms for catalytic reactions can allow for the design of custom catalysts. Powerful analytical tools (e.g., FT-IR, NMR, X-ray) are often used to study such things as surface states, adsorbed species, intermediates, and products. Studying these reactions and chemical species in realistic chemical and physical environments representative of actual conditions is challenging.

Mass spectroscopy (MS) has been used for decades for compound identification as well as following the progress of reactions. Commonly, mass spectral measurements are very rapid, making it ideal to provide information about intermediates while monitoring the consumption of reactants and the formation of products.

In this chapter, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectroscopy (FT-ICR/MS) will be shown to be a powerful tool for investigating chemical reactions. FT-ICR/MS is capable of providing high-resolution mass values of molecules for compound identification. When monitoring reactions, relative abundances and mass values of reactants, intermediates, and products are recorded simultaneously as a function of time. Very good discussions on FT-ICR/MS theory are found elsewhere, so only a brief summary will be presented here.