Plasmonic Photocatalysis of Nitrous Oxide into N2 and O2 Using Aluminum-Iridium Antenna-Reactor Nanoparticles

Dayne F. Swearer, Hossein Robatjazi, John Mark P. Martirez, Ming Zhang, Linan Zhou, Emily Ann Carter, Peter Nordlander, Naomi J. Halas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Photocatalysis with optically active "plasmonic" nanoparticles is a growing field in heterogeneous catalysis, with the potential for substantially increasing efficiencies and selectivities of chemical reactions. Here, the decomposition of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent anthropogenic greenhouse gas, on illuminated aluminum-iridium (Al-Ir) antenna-reactor plasmonic photocatalysts is reported. Under resonant illumination conditions, N2 and O2 are the only observable decomposition products, avoiding the problematic generation of NOx species observed using other approaches. Because no appreciable change to the apparent activation energy was observed under illumination, the primary reaction enhancement mechanism for Al-Ir is likely due to photothermal heating rather than plasmon-induced hot-carrier contributions. This light-based approach can induce autocatalysis for rapid N2O conversion, a process with highly promising potential for applications in N2O abatement technologies, satellite propulsion, or emergency life-support systems in space stations and submarines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8076-8086
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 23 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • antenna-reactor
  • autocatalysis
  • nitrous oxide
  • photocatalysis
  • plasmon


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasmonic Photocatalysis of Nitrous Oxide into N2 and O2 Using Aluminum-Iridium Antenna-Reactor Nanoparticles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this