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Plasmonic photocatalysis represents the synergetic union of two active fields of research: plasmonic effects in illuminated metallic nanoparticles and catalytic effects in tailored metallic nanoparticles. Traditionally, metallic nanoparticles that excel for one application are limited for the other, but recent developments have shown that desirable catalytic behaviors, such as reduced activation barriers and improved product selectivity, derive from nonthermal behaviors uniquely produced by this synergy. After examining such findings, this review will address a specific debate that has recently surfaced: what is the relative degree of contributions of thermal and nonthermal effects in plasmonic photocatalysis? We demonstrate the importance of correctly accounting for thermal effects before characterizing nonthermal contributions. We show that another synergy occurs: these desirable nonthermal behaviors have a temperature dependence, and the resulting temperature-dependent reaction rates far exceed what can be explained from purely thermal effects alone. Thus, the synergy of plasmonic photocatalysis offers an exciting new contribution to the quest for efficient, selective, sustainable methods for chemical synthesis and energy conversion.

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Publication history

Received: 08 November 2019
Revised: 31 January 2020
Accepted: 01 February 2020
Published: 23 March 2020
Issue date: May 2020

Copyright

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Dr. Xiao Zhang, Dr. Matthew E. Reish, and Professor Weitao Yang for their valuable contributions to this work. Work at Duke was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (CHE-1565657) and the Army Research Office (Award W911NF-15-1-0320). X. L. was supported by the Department of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) Program.

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Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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