In-situ HRTEM Study of the Reactive Carbide Phase of Co/MoS2 Catalyst

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Ramos M, Ferrer D, Martinez-Soto E, Lopez-Lippmann H, Torres B, Berhault G, Chianelli RR. In-situ HRTEM study of the reactive carbide phase of Co/MoS2 catalyst. Ultramicroscopy 2013 April 2013;127:64-9.


Hydrotreatment catalytic operations are commonly performed industrially by layered molybdenum sulfide promoted by cobalt or nickel in order to remove heteroelements (S, N, O) from fossil fuels and biofuels. Indeed, these heteroelements are responsible of the emission of pollutants when these fuels are used in vehicles. In this respect, previous studies made by our research group have shown that the active phase under steady state conditions is partially carbided while strong bending effects of MoS2 slabs were also observed. However, up to now, the morphology of the resulting Co/MoSxCy carbided catalyst has not been fully characterized. In the present study, for the first time, a chemical reaction between the carbon content of a TEM Cu/C grid and a freshly sulfide Co/MoS2 catalyst was in situ observed at 300 °C and 450 °C by HRTEM experimental techniques at ∼10 nm of resolution. Results indicate that bending of MoS2 layers occurred due to carbon addition on MoS2 edge sites, as observed in stabilized catalysts after HDS reaction. Using a silicon grid, only cracks of MoS2 slabs were observed without bending effect confirming the role of structural-carbon in this change of morphology.