In this work, it was essential to ensure an accurate reading of temperatures and especially to minimize the possibility of undetected hot spots that are deemed responsible for many outstanding (and difficult to reproduce) results obtained under MWH. To this end, an extensive effort was devoted to continuous temperature monitoring of the catalyst. In particular, the temperature of the monolith surface was measured: (i) with a pyrometer located in the upper part of the tube (monolith surface corresponding to the exit gas side) and (ii) with an external thermographic camera that had a direct view of the monolith surface through the quartz wall (see Fig. 1C and fig. S5). The thermal camera was an OPTRIS PI 1M thermographic camera, which operates at 1 μm and allows temperature measurement between 450° and 1800°C. Since, at a wavelength of 1 μm, quartz is nearly transparent to IR radiation (37, 38), a direct reading of the solid temperature inside the reactor through the quartz wall was possible during reaction (see Fig. 1C and fig. S5). The pyrometer was an OPTRIS CL 2MH1 pyrometer (temperature range, 490° to 2000°C; spectral range, 1.6 μm) and was used to measure the top surface temperature, which is not accessible with the thermal camera that only gives a lateral view. This dual-temperature reading system was used to address one of the main problems related with the design of the MW reactors (39), where conventional proves (e.g., thermocouples) cannot be used and optical fibers face severe temperature limitations. Temperatures were continuously recorded using commercial software, after calibrating the emissivity (17) of the surface as a function of temperature (see Supplementary Materials and Methods).

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