Prof. dr. Moniek Tromp

X-ray spectroscopy probing materials properties – now available in the lab

Detailed information on the structural and electronic properties of a catalyst or material and how they change during reaction is required to understand their reaction mechanism and performance. An experimental technique that can provide structural as well as electronic analysis and that can be applied in situ/operando and in a time-resolved mode, is X-ray spectroscopy. Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy is powerful in determining the local structure of compounds including amorphous materials and solutions, since long-range order is not required. Combined X-ray Absorption and X-ray Emission spectroscopy (XAS and XES resp.) provides detailed insights in the electronic properties of a material. Detailed information about the materials in their dynamic chemical active environment can thus be obtained and structure/electronic – performance relationships and reaction mechanisms derived.

Novel X-ray techniques are currently being developed and applied to catalytic systems and materials (incl. batteries and fuel cells, art objects) and important insights in large scale industrial processes have already been obtained. While these X-ray spectroscopy technique are normally performed at large scale research complexes, i..e. synchrotrons, with limited access, we have now developed and commissioned a lab-based instrument, which I will explain in this lecture.

About Moniek Tromp

Moniek Tromp finished her MSc in Chemistry, with specialisations in spectroscopy and catalysis, at the University of Utrecht (Nld) in 2000. She then obtained a PhD from the same university, in the fields of homogeneous catalysis and time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy with Profs. Koningsberger and van Koten. After finishing with distinction (‘cum laude’, greatest honours possible) in 2004, she moved to the University of Southampton (UK) for a Post-Doctoral Research fellowship in the fields of heterogeneous catalysis and spectroscopy. In 2007, she was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship to start up her own independent academic career. She moved to Germany in 2010, where she took up a position as professor in Catalyst Characterisation at the Technical University Munich. In 2014, she decided to come back to the Netherlands, where she is now working at the University of Amsterdam.

Her research focusses on the development and application of operando spectroscopy techniques in catalysis and materials research (incl. fuel cells, batteries, photochemistry, as well as arts) with a focus on X-ray spectroscopy techniques. Novel (time resolved) X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy methods have been developed as tools in catalysis research. This includes the development of the required operando instrumentation and cells, as well as data analysis and theoretical methods. Application of the techniques to fundamentally or industrially interesting catalytic processes and materials has been pursued, providing unprecedented insights in catalysts properties and reaction mechanisms.

She has been awarded prestigious fellowships/awards like the EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship and the NWO VIDI. She is active in numerous science advisory and review panels of large research facilities and universities internationally, has published over 80 papers in high profile journals, given over 70 invited lectures worldwide.