Direct Imaging of Atomically Dispersed Molybdenum that Enables Location of Aluminum in the Framework of Zeolite ZSM-5

Lingmei Liu, Ning Wang, Chongzhi Zhu, Xiaona Liu, Yihan Zhu, Peng Guo, Lujain Alfilfil, Xinglong Dong, Daliang Zhang, Yu Han*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Integrated differential phase-contrast scanning transmission electron microscopy (iDPC-STEM) is capable of directly probing guest molecules in zeolites, owing to its sufficient and interpretable image contrast for both heavy and light elements under low-dose conditions. This unique ability is demonstrated by imaging volatile organic compounds adsorbed in zeolite Silicalite-1; iDPC-STEM was then used to investigate molybdenum supported on various zeolites including Silicalite-1, ZSM-5, and mordenite. Isolated single-Mo clusters were observed in the micropores of ZSM-5, demonstrating the crucial role of framework Al in driving Mo atomically dispersed into the micropores. Importantly, the specific one-to-one Mo-Al interaction makes it possible to locate Al atoms, that is, catalytic active sites, in the ZSM-5 framework from the images, according to the positions of Mo atoms in the micropores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-825
Number of pages7
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 7 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by CCF grant (FCC/1/1972-19) to Y.H. from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This research used the resources of KAUST's Core Labs facilities. Y.Z. acknowledges financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (21771161) and the Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars. D.Z. acknowledges financial support from Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (02200052020013).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • electron microscopy
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • host–guest systems
  • zeolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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