José Moya-Cancino et al., in two consecutive journal articles in ChemCatChem (DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201801822 and DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201900434) show beautifully that operando experiments in catalytic reactor can be performed and new information on Co/TiO2 based Fisher-Tropsch catalysis can be obtained. The aim of the study is to elucidate the catalyst deactivation mechanisms, in particular the role of the formation of cobalt carbides species in the reactor in the deactivation.

This way, our facility was the first to show that operando catalysis experiments are feasible using home-laboratory XAS. The proof-of-concept was congratulated in a recent review by Zimmermann et al. in "Modern X-ray spectroscopy: XAS and XES in the laboratory", published in Coordination Chemistry Reviews 423 (2020), 213466, who write: “Moya-Cancino et al. reported in January 2019 the first laboratory-based in situ XANES of a solid Fischer–Tropsch synthesis catalyst (Co/TiO2). This very exciting experiment is using the setup described above by Honkanen et al.” And: “This is an important step forward towards lab-based in situ and operando studies, which is not only relevant for chemistry, but many applications in research often require studies under in situ or operando conditions to understand the dynamics of the process.


René Bes et al., in the article in Journal of Nuclear Materials 507 (2018) 50-53 show that actinide research using laboratory-scale XAS (in this case on U L3 edge) is possible. This helps to many challenges related to e.g., transport of radioactive materials to synchrotrons which has been up to now a major bottleneck in actinide research.