Theory of Hot-Carrier Generation in Bimetallic Plasmonic Catalysts

The production of hydrogen using solar energy is a key step towards a green hydrogen economy.

Palladium nanoparticles are good catalysts for the production of hydrogen, but they do not absorb much sunlight. This limitation of palladium nanoparticles can be overcome by combining them with gold nanoparticles which possess attractive optical properties.

Jin and co-workers demonstrate that the photocatalytic performance of small palladium nanoparticles increases dramatically when they are placed on the surface of larger gold nanoparticles. This happens because the confinement of light in the nanometer-sized gap between the palladium and the gold nanoparticles gives rise to a so-called gap plasmon which leads to the creation of a large number of energetic electrons in the palladium nanoparticle that can participate in chemical reactions.

Authors: Hanwen Jin, Matias Herran, Emiliano Cortes, Johannes Lischner