Nature Nanotechnology, Vol.12, No.10, 1000-1005, 2017
Controlling energy flow in multimetallic nanostructures for plasmonic catalysis
It has been shown that photoexcitation of plasmonic metal nanoparticles (Ag, Au and Cu) can induce direct photochemical reactions. However, the widespread application of this technology in catalysis has been limited by the relatively poor chemical reactivity of noble metal surfaces. Despite efforts to combine plasmonic and catalytic metals, the physical mechanisms that govern energy transfer from plasmonic metals to catalytic metals remain unclear. Here we show that hybrid core-shell nanostructures in which a core plasmonic metal harvests visible-light photons can selectively channel that energy into catalytically active centres on the nanostructure shell. To accomplish this, we developed a synthetic protocol to deposit a few monolayers of Pt onto Ag nanocubes. This model system allows us to conclusively separate the optical and catalytic functions of the hybrid nanomaterial and determine that the flow of energy is strongly biased towards the excitation of energetic charge carriers in the Pt shell. We demonstrate the utility of these nanostructures for photocatalytic chemical reactions in the preferential oxidation of CO in excess H-2. Our data demonstrate that the reaction occurs exclusively on the Pt surface.