Nuclear-Electronic Orbital Quantum Dynamics of Plasmon-Driven H2 Photodissociation

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Leveraging localized surface plasmon resonances of metal nanoparticles to trigger chemical reactions is a promising approach for heterogeneous catalysis. First-principles modeling of such processes is challenging due to the large number of electrons and electronic excited states as well as the significance of nuclear quantum effects when hydrogen is involved. Herein, the nonadiabatic nuclear-electronic quantum dynamics of plasmon-induced H2 photodissociation near an Al13- cluster is simulated with real-time nuclear-electronic orbital time-dependent density functional theory (RT-NEO-TDDFT). This approach propagates the nonequilibrium quantum dynamics of both electrons and protons. The plasmonic oscillations are shown to inject hot electrons into the antibonding orbital of H2, thereby inducing H2 dissociation. The quantum mechanical treatment of the hydrogen nuclei leads to faster H2 photodissociation and slightly larger isotope effects. Analysis of the nonequilibrium electronic density suggests that these findings stem from enhanced excited-state electronic coupling between the plasmonic mode and the H2 antibonding orbital due to proton delocalization or zero-point energy effects. Given the low computational overhead for including nuclear quantum effects with the RT-NEO-TDDFT approach, this work paves the way for simulating nonadiabatic nuclear-electronic quantum dynamics in other plasmonic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18210-18214
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 23 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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