Catching up with Anastasia Molokova

Elucidating the deactivation pathways of Cu-zeolite-based industrial DeNOx catalysts


Anastasia joined the InnovaXN programme in September 2020. Her PhD project at the ESRF is focused on the operando XAS for deNOx catalysis in collaboration with Umicore and the University of Torino. The project consists in using synchrotron radiation to monitor the oxidation state and local environment of Cu active sites in the Cu chabazite catalyst in situ (during the reaction). DeNOx catalysts are used for the reduction of harmful nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust. Anastasia’s work aims to study the active elements in order to increase catalyst lifetime which could make the air a little cleaner.

Anastasia is very excited by the research area of her project. She finds the topic inspiring, which also gives her motivation to continue investigating the system. Since September, Anastasia has done several experiments in which she learnt how to deal with unplanned situations. Through this, also learnt more about the beamlines and how they work. For the experiments, she prepared samples and carried out measurements on them to prepare for the X-ray analysis. Anastasia has used X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray emission spectroscopy as experimental techniques, and has also gained experience with several data analysis techniques. She had already produced a few results that will be useful for the continuity of her project.

An exciting journey ahead

For Anastasia, the beginning of the programme was the most difficult part, adapting to a new environment with the detrimental effect of the Covid19 pandemic on social relations. Today, she feels really happy to be part of the InnovaXN programme, meeting the other students, learning new techniques, and adapting to new situations every week. “My own luck helped me find this position, wonderful people here are helping me continue on a beautiful journey. Thank you!’ said Anastasia about the programme.


Anastasia MOLOKOVA

Anastasia MOLOKOVA


Find out more about the project and Anastasia bellow.

The programme is co-directed by Dr Harald Reichert (Director of Research, ESRF) and Prof Mark Johnson (Science Director, ILL).

For more information, contact the Business and Industry team: