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Nano Lett. 2013 Jan 9;13(1):240-7. doi: 10.1021/nl303940z. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

Hot electrons do the impossible: plasmon-induced dissociation of H2 on Au.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.

Abstract

Heterogeneous catalysis is of paramount importance in chemistry and energy applications. Catalysts that couple light energy into chemical reactions in a directed, orbital-specific manner would greatly reduce the energy input requirements of chemical transformations, revolutionizing catalysis-driven chemistry. Here we report the room temperature dissociation of H(2) on gold nanoparticles using visible light. Surface plasmons excited in the Au nanoparticle decay into hot electrons with energies between the vacuum level and the work function of the metal. In this transient state, hot electrons can transfer into a Feshbach resonance of an H(2) molecule adsorbed on the Au nanoparticle surface, triggering dissociation. We probe this process by detecting the formation of HD molecules from the dissociations of H(2) and D(2) and investigate the effect of Au nanoparticle size and wavelength of incident light on the rate of HD formation. This work opens a new pathway for controlling chemical reactions on metallic catalysts.

PMID:
23194158
DOI:
10.1021/nl303940z

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