Single Catalyst Particle Diagnostics in a Microreactor for Performing Multiphase Hydrogenation Reactions

Anne-Eva Nieuwelink, Jeroen C. Vollenbroek, Andrea Ferreira de Abreu, Roald M. Tiggelaar, Albert van den Berg, Mathieu Odijk, Bert M. Weckhuysen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Since inter- and intra-particle heterogeneities in catalyst particles are more the rule than the exception, it is advantageous to perform high-throughput screening for the activity of single catalyst particles. A multiphase system (gas/liquid/solid) is developed, where droplet-based microfluidics and optical detection are combined for the analysis of single catalyst particles by safely performing a hydrogenation study on in-house synthesized hollow Pd/SiO2 catalyst microparticles, in a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microreactor. A two-phase segmented flow system of particle-containing droplets is combined with a parallel gas-reactant channel separated from the flow channel by a 50 μm thick gas permeable PDMS wall. In this paper, the developed microreactor system is showcased by monitoring the Pd-catalyzed hydrogenation of methylene blue. A discoloration of blue to brown visualizes the hydrogenation activity happening in a high-throughput fashion on the single Pd/SiO2 spherical catalyst microparticles, which are encapsulated in 50 nL-sized droplets. By measuring the reagent concentration at various spots along the length of the channel the reaction time can be determined, which is proportional to the residence time in the channel. The developed experimental platform opens new possibilities for single catalyst particle diagnostics in a multiphase environment. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Article number229
Pages (from-to)267-280
Number of pages14
JournalFaraday Discussions
Early online date10 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Single Catalyst particles
  • Microreactor
  • Multiphase systems
  • Hydrogenation


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