Plasmonic-metal nanostructures for efficient conversion of solar to chemical energy

Nat Mater. 2011 Nov 23;10(12):911-21. doi: 10.1038/nmat3151.


Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the harvesting and conversion of solar energy. Among various technologies, the direct conversion of solar to chemical energy using photocatalysts has received significant attention. Although heterogeneous photocatalysts are almost exclusively semiconductors, it has been demonstrated recently that plasmonic nanostructures of noble metals (mainly silver and gold) also show significant promise. Here we review recent progress in using plasmonic metallic nanostructures in the field of photocatalysis. We focus on plasmon-enhanced water splitting on composite photocatalysts containing semiconductor and plasmonic-metal building blocks, and recently reported plasmon-mediated photocatalytic reactions on plasmonic nanostructures of noble metals. We also discuss the areas where major advancements are needed to move the field of plasmon-mediated photocatalysis forward.