Catalytic processes

(Image: DESY)

Catalysts have been of fundamental importance for the chemical industry for at least 100 years. Today, catalysts are also used to limit the environmental damage of car exhaust gases and are essential in the petrochemical industry and in many other applications, with a market of tens of billions of Euro.

Despite their widespread use, the action of catalysts is often poorly understood. X-ray FELs can give new impulses to systematic approaches to improve catalysts based on the possibility to shoot molecular movies which show the various stages of the eaction. Understanding the molecular mechanisms in detail can improve the development of better and more environment-friendly catalysts with effects on a whole range of important industrial processes.