An interview with DENSsolutions R&D Engineer Ronald Spruit about our latest extension of the Climate G+ product line: the Vaporizer

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DENSsolutions introduces its latest product: the Vaporizer — an extension of the Climate G+ product line. This innovative solution takes your in situ experiments to a whole new level, enabling you to independently add water vapor to any gas mixture of up to 3 gases. We interview our R&D Engineer Ronald Spruit to learn all about the Vaporizer, from what inspired its development, its unique capabilities and the many applications that will benefit from its creation.

What led to the development of the Climate G+ Vaporizer?

The DENSsolutions Climate system has been widely used to study catalysis, nanomaterial growth and corrosion. Currently, the system provides a highly controlled gas and temperature environment, allowing users to independently control gas composition, gas pressure, gas flow rate and temperature. To enable this high level of control, the development of Climate has been aimed at delivering and mixing gases in the most accurate and clean way possible. 

Typically, high-purity gases are being used in combination with the Climate Gas Supply System (GSS). As a consequence, the environment that is created in the Nano-Reactor can be very dry. However, it is known that realistic scenarios and industrially relevant applications often occur under conditions where the gas is not perfectly dry, but in conditions where vapors are present. Moreover, although water’s negative effects on metal corrosion and catalyst deactivation have been well-researched for decades, the study of water’s influence on gas-solid reactions inside a TEM is limited. This is due to the lack of control over the flow rate and pressure of the water vapor, as well as the fear of contaminating high-vacuum TEM columns.

We therefore wanted to develop a solution that tackles these limitations by allowing users to add water vapor to their gas flow, and have the liberty to fully control the water vapor pressure. This is precisely what the Vaporizer enables. With the development of the Vaporizer, we hope to not only make new research involving water possible, but also draw attention to the importance of controlling water vapor levels to increase the repeatability of in situ experiments.

What are the main benefits of the Climate G+ Vaporizer?

The Vaporizer further extends the unique capabilities of the Climate G+ system, making your in situ experiments more accurate, reliable and representative of realistic conditions than ever before.

1) Independently control gas parameters: In addition to the independent control of gas pressure, flow and composition that the Climate G+ offers, the Vaporizer allows for the fully independent control of one more significant gas parameter: the level of water vapor pressure over the complete range of 0 to 25 mbar. This means that for the first time, you can fine-tune any of the above-mentioned parameters with the assurance that the others stay perfectly steady.

2) Start a new experiment in minutes: The Vaporizer has been designed to be versatile, fast and flexible. The vapor is added to the gas flow as provided by the GSS just before the gas enters the TEM holder. Therefore, the GSS remains free of water vapor, allowing you to switch back and forth between ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ conditions or even start a new experiment in a matter of minutes.

3) Safely work with explosive mixtures: A known unique feature of the Climate G+ system is that it allows you to safely work with flammable or even explosive mixtures thanks to its live mixing feature and minimal internal volume. This benefit extends into the Vaporizer, which allows you to safely add water vapor to any gas mixture.

Which applications will benefit most from the Climate G+ Vaporizer?

Applications that will highly benefit most from the Vaporizer include catalysis reactions involving water, catalyst deactivation caused by water, and metal corrosion. 

For example, in our published application note, we use the Vaporizer to study the reconstruction behavior of NiAu bimetallic core-shell nanoparticles, a catalyst system highly selective to CO in CO2 hydrogenation, under a hybrid atmosphere of water and hydrogen. For the NiAu nanoparticles, water is a reaction product. By controlling the water pressure, it is revealed that a solid NiO shell forms at high water vapor levels, reversible loose NiO appears and disappears at low water vapor levels and no NiO formation occurs with no water. The results provide perspective on the complex role that water plays on reactions. Moreover, the ability to introduce water vapor in a controlled fashion can help researchers design more water-sustainable catalysts.

In the future, we also expect the Vaporizer to be useful for applications involving solid batteries that require some need for water.

What is the compatibility of the Climate G+ Vaporizer?

The Vaporizer is designed for and fully compatible with the Climate G+ product line.  It is also directly compatible with most generations of Climate S3+ systems. However, for these systems it’s best to get in touch with us to confirm the compatibility, possibilities and potential aspects to consider.

What kind of challenges were tackled during development?

One of the main challenges of this development was designing the Vaporizer in such a way that it would be fully compatible with the Climate G+ system, while maintaining our existing unique features and benefits. Fortunately, we were able to find a good solution to integrate the hardware, control mechanisms and software seamlessly into each other. As a result, the Climate system feels as if the Vaporizer has always been part of it and at the same time the Vaporizer can be seen as an add-on to existing systems. This serves new users with a system that can do it all as well as ensures backwards compatibility to existing systems such that we don’t exclude the loyal users of our systems from the possibility to upgrade with this new vapor feature.

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