Intermetallics with controlled microstructure and chemical composition afford unique catalytic properties, and thus are greatly desirable for heterogeneous catalysis. Identifying the key elementary steps of intermetallic process is a key step towards mechanistic understanding and clarification.

Through the using of ideal materials, e.g., single crystalline, or reaction conditions, e.g., ultrahigh vacuum, substantial progress has been made to understand the intermetallic details, nevertheless, such material or chemical environment gap hinders insightful understanding of the real intermetallic process.

Taking the advantages of real-world pressure, gas and heating environment provided by the Climate in situ gas&heating solution, Prof. Bingsen Zhang and Prof. Dangsheng Su from Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Prof. Wei Zhang from Jilin University and Dr. Xi Liu from Synfuels China Technology Co., Ltd., studied the details about nanoscale/atomic scale microstructure- and composition-evolution of PdZn intermetallic nanoparticles under H2 atmosphere and at elevated temperatures. They revealed the sequence of the phase transitions from Pd to PdZn via the intermediate PdHx under hydrogen atmosphere. The ability of capturing the intermediate state during the reaction condition not only discloses the microstructural information in reference to the catalyst activation in details, but also sheds light on rational design and optimum synthesis of intermetallic compound catalysts.

Related results have been accepted for publication in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.