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From fuel cells to catalysts - new insights into chemical materials by electron microscopy

From fuel cells to catalysts - new insights into chemical materials by electron microscopy

Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe
Lecture Hall, Bldg. 640




Dr. Gerhard Cox
Polymer Physics
BASF-SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany



Abstract: The targeted development of functional materials with novel chemical and physical properties often requires a detailed understanding of their microstructure. For this purpose spectroscopic, scattering, diffraction and imaging techniques are used (often in combination) at the Polymer Physics Department, which is the central physics platform for the BASF group. Especially in the field of nanotechnology – one of the five growth clusters in BASF’s central research strategy – electron microscopy is an indispensable analytical tool, since it can deliver microscopic and elemental information at the same time with nm resolution in real space. 

The materials studied by EM methods at BASF span a broad range from soft matter like polymers and biological samples up to liquid dispersions, formulations, nanoparticles, inorganic matter for catalysts and complete devices like assemblies for fuel cells, organic light emitting diodes and field effect transistors. To elucidate the structure property relation for these materials several EM techniques like Cryo-SEM/TEM, Focused Ion Beam SEM, Electron Microprobe Analysis, High Resolution SEM and (S)TEM in combination with EDX and EELS analysis are used in house. Specialized, expensive or time consuming investigations using techniques like  Electron Tomography, Cs-corrected (S)TEM or high resolution imaging filter techniques are done in collaboration with universities and research institutes.

The insights and the added value we get by using these EM techniques will be highlighted by some examples from the above mentioned materials.