Direct Photocatalysis by Plasmonic Nanostructures
- M. J. Kale, T. Avanesian, P. Christopher
- ACS Catal. 2014,
A synthetically convenient and scalable SILAR (successive ion layer adsorption and reaction) method is used to make air-stable films of silver and gold nanoparticles supported on alumina scaffolds. This solution-based deposition technique yields particles devoid of insulating capping agents or ligands. The optical properties of the nanoparticle films were investigated using femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. A linear absorption arising from intraband excitation (775 nm laser pulse) is seen only for Au nanoparticles at low intensity. However, both Au and Ag particles exhibit plasmon resonance responses at high excitation intensity via two photon absorption of the 775 nm pump pulse. The difference in optical response to near-IR laser excitation is rationalized based on the known density of states for each metal. To demonstrate the potential applications of these films, alumina-supported Ag nanoparticles were utilized as substrates for surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, resulting in a 65-fold enhancement in the Raman signal of the probe molecule rhodamine 6G. The exceptional stability and scalability of these SILAR films opens the door for further optical and photocatalytic studies and applications, particularly with ligand-free Ag nanoparticles that typically oxidize under ambient conditions. Additionally, isolating plasmonic and interband electronic excitations in stable AgNP under visible light irradiation could enable elucidation of the mechanisms that drive noble metal-assisted photocatalytic processes.