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3D Printed Catalysts


3D Printed Catalysts

Finden Ltd’s techniques for 3D imaging computed tomography recently appeared in the September 2017 edition of Chemistry World, in the article titled, “Diamonds are forever” which can be found at Chemistry World:

Here is an extract from the article which explains the techniques Professor Andrew Beale, Chief Scientific Officer at Finden Ltd uses,

“Principal beamline scientist Fred Mosselmans has been a synchrotron scientist for 20 years, and a resident of the spectroscopy village since Diamond first opened, where he now runs the I18 beamline … ‘One of the best things [about Diamond] is you see a lot of different science. [Users] have an enormous range of science problems, and the techniques that we have can hopefully address them,’ Mosselmans modestly explains.

‘In the last three or four years, we’ve gone from 2D imaging to 3D imaging computed tomography. We’re doing two different techniques: x-ray diffraction tomography, where we can look at the distribution of the species on the micron scale, and XRF to get distribution of the elements in the sample itself.’ This setup allows him to construct a 3D picture of a sample and watch reactions as they happen, which is just what Andy Beale from University College London is doing.

Beale is exploring how 3D-printing customised supports for different catalysts can improve their performance, specifically nickel nanoparticles on a carbon support. Mosselmans points to one of the screens behind him where a greyish cylinder is displayed: ‘Effectively, we’re probing inside that rod while it’s under operating conditions, without having to cut it open.’

On another screen the results are coming in. ‘[The printing method] isn’t producing the nanoparticles we’re interested in yet,’ Beale explains, ‘but this is a great illustration of how this beamline is giving novel insight into a catalyst … getting spatial and chemical composition information together. We’re calling [this technique] chemical tomography of catalysis.’”

Further reading:

3D printed Ni/Al2O3 based catalysts for COmethanation – a comparative and operando XRD-CT study.  Vesna Middelkoop, Antonis Vamvakeros, Dieter de Wit, Simon D.M. Jacques, Simge Danaci, Clement Jacquot, Yoran de Vosag, Dorota Matras, Stephen W.T. Price, Andrew M. Beale, Journal of CO2 Utilization, Volume 33, October 2019, Pages 478-487,

Multiscale investigation of adsorption properties of novel 3D printed UTSA-16 structures. Carlos A. Grande, Richard Blom, Vesna Middelkoop, Dorota Matras, Antonis Vamvakeros, Simon D.M. Jacques, Andrew M. Beale, Marco Di Michiel, Kari Anne Andreassen, Aud M. Bouzga, Chemical Engineering Journal, Volume 402, 15 December 2020, 126166,

Companies involved:

Diamond Light Source, VITO, Finden Ltd., University College London


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The research project receives funding from the European Community‘s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) under grant agreement no. 679933.


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