Catalysed chemical reactions are the backbone of many technologies at the heart of modern society. They take place on the molecular and sub-nanometre atomic levels.
In this public lecture, Prof. Gai will discuss the new equipment used to help us understand these reactions: the aberration-corrected atomic-resolution environmental transmission electron microscope. She will explain how the microscope has been developed to understand, control and improve live chemical processes, using a more informed understanding of the underpinning physics. She will describe how dynamic experiments are performed inside the microscope under realistic reaction conditions. The microscope enables the human eye to watch how atoms move and catch them in action. It allows us to see how crystal structures change, including sequences of events that lead to the evolution of crystal imperfections that occur during reactions – an ability that is important for medicines, new energy sources and climate control.
She will speak about how this new capability contributes to a better understanding of reaction mechanisms, which, in turn, can lead to wide-ranging, societally valuable new science.