Direct photocatalysis by plasmonic nanostructures

Matthew J. Kale, Talin Avanesian, Phillip Christopher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

749 Scopus citations


Recent reports have shown that plasmonic nanostructures can be used to drive direct photocatalysis with visible photons, where nanostructures act as the light absorber and the catalytic active site. These reports have showcased direct plasmon driven photocatalysis as a route to concentrate and channel the energy of low intensity visible light into adsorbed molecules, enhancing the rates of chemical transformations, and offering pathways to control reaction selectivity. In this perspective, we will discuss the fundamental photophysics of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) excitation in the context of driving chemical transformations. The various demonstrated chemical conversions executed using direct plasmonic photocatalysis will be reviewed. Experimental observations, such as the dependence of photocatalytic rate on illumination intensity and photon energy, will be related to microscopic mechanisms of photocatalysis. In addition, theoretical treatments of various mechanisms within the process of direct plasmonic photocatalysis will be discussed and related to experimental studies. Throughout the Perspective, the possibility of activating targeted adsorbate bonds to allow rational manipulation of reaction selectivity in direct plasmonic photocatalysis will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-128
Number of pages13
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • nanoparticles
  • photocatalysis
  • selectivity
  • solar energy
  • surface plasmons


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