Monitoring plasmonic hot-carrier chemical reactions at the single particle level

Sabrina Simoncelli*, Evangelina L. Pensa, Thomas Brick, Julian Gargiulo, Alberto Lauri, Javier Cambiasso, Yi Li, Stefan A. Maier, Emiliano Cortés

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Plasmon excitation in metal nanoparticles triggers the generation of highly energetic charge carriers that, when properly manipulated and exploited, can mediate chemical reactions. Single-particle techniques are key to unearthing the underlying mechanisms of hot-carrier generation, transport and injection, as well as to disentangling the role of the temperature increase and the enhanced near-field at the nanoparticle-molecule interface. Gaining nanoscopic insight into these processes and their interplay could aid in the rational design of plasmonic photocatalysts. Here, we present three different approaches to monitor hot-carrier reactivity at the single-particle level. We use a combination of dark-field microscopy and photoelectrochemistry to track a hot-hole driven reaction on a single Au nanoparticle. We image hot-electron reactivity with sub-particle spatial resolution using nanoscopy techniques. Finally, we push the limits by looking for a hot-electron induced chemical reaction that generates a fluorescent product, which should enable imaging plasmonic photocatalysis at the single-particle and single-molecule levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-87
Number of pages15
JournalFaraday Discussions
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018


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