Metallic nanoparticles with strong optically resonant properties behave as nanoscale optical antennas, and have recently shown extraordinary promise as light-driven catalysts. Traditionally, however, heterogeneous catalysis has relied upon weakly light-absorbing metals such as Pd, Pt, Ru, or Rh to lower the activation energy for chemical reactions. Here we show that coupling a plasmonic nanoantenna directly to catalytic nanoparticles enables the light-induced generation of hot carriers within the catalyst nanoparticles, transforming the entire complex into an efficient light-controlled reactive catalyst. In Pd-decorated Al nanocrystals, photocatalytic hydrogen desorption closely follows the antenna-induced local absorption cross-section of the Pd islands, and a supralinear power dependence strongly suggests that hot-carrier-induced desorption occurs at the Pd island surface. When acetylene is present along with hydrogen, the selectivity for photocatalytic ethylene production relative to ethane is strongly enhanced, approaching 40:1. These observations indicate that antenna-reactor complexes may greatly expand possibilities for developing designer photocatalytic substrates.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Aug 9 2016|
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