Metal-semiconductor nanocomposites have become interesting materials for the development of new photocatalytic hybrids. Along these lines, plasmonic nanoparticles have proven to be particularly efficient photosensitizers due to their ability to transfer plasmonic hot electrons onto large bandgap semiconductors such as TiO2, thus extending the activity of the latter into a broader range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The extent of this photosensitization process can be substantially enhanced in those geometries in which high electromagnetic fields are created at the metal-semiconductor interface. In this manner, the formation of plasmonic hot spots can be used as a versatile tool to engineer the photosensitization process in this family of hybrid materials. Herein, we introduce the use of titanate nanowires as ideal substrates for the assembly of Au nanorods and TiO2 nanoparticles, leading to the formation of robust hybrids with improved photocatalytic properties. Our approach shows that the correct choice of the individual units together with their rational assembly are of paramount importance in the development of complex nanostructures with advanced functionalities.
Keywords: hierarchical assembly; photocatalysis; plasmonic hot spots; titanates.