In heterogeneous catalysis the reactions occur on the surface of a catalyst. To understand the reaction pathways, a detailed understanding on an atomic level is critical. However, the gas atmosphere surrounding the surface dictates the interaction between the surface and the gas. At low pressures this is often neglected, but as the community turns to higher pressures it becomes important to consider gas related effects. We have used laser diagnostics to characterize the gas distributions during catalysis and thereby been able to deduce information that would otherwise lay hidden. Several of our recent results are summarized and highlighted and simultaneous measurements of the surface structure using synchrotron based methods and the gas phase using laser diagnostics is discussed.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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