Scientific activities of the Division are devoted to the study of the relationship between structure and chemical reactivity of highly dispersed solids. For this, various manufacturing methods are used along with physicochemical characterization and testing of chemical activity of materials in a state of high dispersion (nanomaterials). The results of the research allow for better understanding of the mechanisms of chemical reactions that involve catalysts, and transformation of  catalysts during their work. As a result, it is possible to improve therefine of existing catalytic processes or develop new ones.

Research topics:

  • Development of methods for preparation of materials (metal and metal oxide) in a state of high dispersion for use in catalysis. Pressure (solvothermal) or microemulsions methods allow to obtain materials with well-defined morphology and high surface area. Examples are oxides (g-Al2O3, MeAl2O4 spinels, ferrites, rare earth mixed oxides), metals (Re, Ru, Pd, Co) or mixed systems (metal / oxide). Characteristics of obtained materials include an examination of the microstructure by transmission and scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction patterns as well as texture analysis (measured surface area and porous structure).
  • Chemical reactivity of nano-size metal particles and oxides. Studies on the chemisorption of gases (H2, O2, CO) and model catalytic reactions (benzene hydrogenation, oxidation of CO, post-combustion of soot, and dehydrogenation of alcohol ketonization) in nanoparticle systems. Also,  studies of reactions in solid phase of dispersed systems are performed. Reactions such as sintering, redispersion or creating chemical compounds at the interfaces determine the stability and activity of catalysts and layer systems.
  • Development of new, active and selective catalysts. Basic research on the reactivity of materials, use of dispersed catalysts for the development of important chemical reactions. An example of oxide catalysts that are successfully used in alkylation reactions of hydroxyarens with alcohols and protected by patents.

Laboratory of Electron Microscopy

Laboratory is an essential basis of the Division in research on micristructure of materials. A special role in studies of highly dispersed systems (including catalysts) plays the High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy, which provides unique information about the morphology and structure of the crystalline particles of nanometers.

Laboratory also performs research services in the field of TEM, SEM and X-ray microanalysis (EDS) for the employees of the Institute and other scientific institutions.


Important publications in 2005-2015:

  • K. Baranowska, J. Okal, and W.Tylus:  Microwave-Assisted Polyol Synthesis of Bimetallic RuRe Nanoparticles Stabilized by PVP or Oxide Supports (γ-Alumina and Silica). Appl. Catal.  A 511 (2016) 117−130.
  • M. A. Małecka and L. Kępiński:  New, Intermediate Polymorph of CeAlO3 with Hexagonal Structure  Formation and Thermal Stability. Cryst Eng Comm 17 (2015) 2273−2278.
  • M. Kurnatowska, M. Schuster, W. Miśta, and L. Kępiński:  Self-Regenerative Property of Nanocrystalline Ce0.89M0.11O2y (M = Pd, Rh) Mixed Oxides. Chem Cat Chem 6 (2014) 3125−3131.
  • M. Kurnatowska, L. Kępiński, and W. Miśta:  Structure Evolution of Nanocrystalline Ce1xPdxO2y Mixed Oxide in Oxidizing and Reducing Atmosphere:  Reduction-Induced Activity in Low-Temperature CO Oxidation. Appl. Catal. B 117 (2012) 135−147.
  • J. Okal and M. Zawadzki:  Combustion of Propane over Novel Zinc Aluminate-Supported Ruthenium Catalysts. Appl. Catal. B 105 (2011) 182−190.
  • R. Klimkiewicz and J.Trawczyński:  Secondary Ketonization of Primary Alcohol over LaMn-Based Mixed Oxides with Perovskite-Like Structure. Appl. Catal.  A 360 (2009) 199−204.
  • W. Miśta and R. Kacprzyk:  Decomposition of Toluene Using Non-Thermal Plasma Reactor at Room Temperature. Catal. Today 137 (2008) 345−349.
  • M. A. Małecka, L. Kępiński, and W. Miśta:  Structure Evolution of Nanocrystalline CeO2 and CeLnOx Mixed Oxides (Ln = Pr, Tb, Lu) in O2 and H2 Atmosphere, and Their Catalytic Activity in Soot Combustion. Appl. Catal. B 74 (2007) 290−298.
  • J.  Okal, M.Zawadzki, L. Kępiński, and L. Krajczyk, W. Tylus:  The Use of Hydrogen Chemisorption for the Determination of Ru Dispersion in Ru/γ-Alumina Catalysts. Appl. Catal. A 319 (2007) 202−209.
  • M. Zawadzki:  Synthesis of Nanosized and Microporous Zinc Aluminate Spinel by Microwave-Assisted Hydrothermal Method. Solid State Sci. 8 (2006) 14−18.


1. Structure research:

  • Philips CM-20 SuperTwin transmission electron microscope: accelerating voltage of 200 kV, resolution of 0.24 nm.
  • Tesla BC 500 transmission electron microscope: accelerating voltage 90 kV, resolution of 1.0 nm.
  • FESEM FEI Nova 230 Nanos scanning electron microscope with a resolution of 1 nm, with the possibility of working in low vacuum, equipped with a spectrometer (EDS EDAX Genesis) and a probe to study the electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD EDAX).
  • Philips 515 scanning electron microscope (accelerating voltage 30 kV, resolution of 5 nm) equipped with a spectrometer (EDS EDAX Genesis).

2. The study of adsorption of gases and texture:

  • Automatic apparatus for testing of gas adsorption - ASAP 2020 C from Micromeritics.
  • Sorptometer (Sorptomatic 1900 Fisons Instruments) for measuring the surface area and porous structure by low-temperature nitrogen adsorption.

3. Thermochemical research and chemical analysis:

  • Autoanalyzer of temperature-programmed reduction (TPR), desorption (TPD-MS), oxidation (TPO-MS) and reaction - Autochem II 2920 from Micromeritics, with gas analysis by mass spectrometry (OmniStar QMS 200 Pfeiffer Vacuum).
  • Gas chromatographs: Perkin-Elmer Clarus 500 ARTEL with FID and TCD detectors; Perkin-Elmer Clarus 680 mass spectrometer Clarus SQ 8S; Hewlet Packard HP6890 with FID detector.
  • Derivatograph TG-DTA (MOM Budapest).

4. Synthesis:

  • Steel autoclaves: EZE-Seal Autoclave Engineers, LA-500 MLW Leipzig (5 l).
  • Microwave pressure reactor ERTEC.
  • 60Co gamma radiation source MRX-100 (activity about 3500 Ci).