Raman spectroscopy is one of the major characterization methods employed over the last few decades as a nondestructive technique for the study of heterogeneous catalysts and related catalytic reactions. However, the promise of practical applicability on millimeter-sized catalyst bodies, such as extrudates, has not been fulfilled completely. Large fluorescence signals and the highly scattering nature of the extrudates often hamper its practical usage. Different approaches to overcome this problem were examined, including the use of time-resolved Raman spectroscopy (TRRS), spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS), surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), and combinations of these techniques. This paper demonstrates that especially TRRS can provide chemical information at depth within catalyst bodies, overcoming fluorescence background signals and allowing for visualization of analytes at different depths. It also examines the application of time-resolved SERS within catalyst bodies to gain insight into localized activity. With these options a wider applicability of Raman spectroscopy for industrial catalysis research becomes within reach.
Clare E. Harvey, Ingeborg E. Iping Petterson, Bert M. Weckhuysen, Cees Gooijer, Freek Ariese, and Arjan J.G. Mank, "Looking Inside Catalyst Extrudates with Time-Resolved Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TR-SERS)," Appl. Spectrosc. 66, 1179-1185 (2012)