Efficient Plasmon-Mediated Energy Funneling to the Surface of Au@Pt Core-Shell Nanocrystals

Christian Engelbrekt*, Kevin T. Crampton, Dmitry A. Fishman, Matt Law, Vartkess Ara Apkarian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The structure and ultrafast photodynamics of ∼8 nm Au@Pt core–shell nanocrystals with ultrathin (<3 atomic layers) Pt–Au alloy shells are investigated to show that they meet the design principles for efficient bimetallic plasmonic photocatalysis. Photoelectron spectra recorded at two different photon energies are used to determine the radial concentration profile of the Pt–Au shell and the electron density near the Fermi energy, which play a key role in plasmon damping and electronic and thermal conductivity. Transient absorption measurements track the flow of energy from the plasmonic core to the electronic manifold of the Pt shell and back to the lattice of the core in the form of heat. We show that strong coupling to the high density of Pt(d) electrons at the Fermi level leads to accelerated dephasing of the Au plasmon on the femtosecond time scale, electron–electron energy transfer from Au(sp) core electrons to Pt(d) shell electrons on the sub-picosecond time scale, and enhanced thermal resistance on the 50 ps time scale. Electron–electron scattering efficiently funnels hot carriers into the ultrathin catalytically active shell at the nanocrystal surface, making them available to drive chemical reactions before losing energy to the lattice via electron–phonon scattering on the 2 ps time scale. The combination of strong broadband light absorption, enhanced electromagnetic fields at the catalytic metal sites, and efficient delivery of hot carriers to the catalyst surface makes core–shell nanocrystals with plasmonic metal cores and ultrathin catalytic metal shells promising nanostructures for the realization of high-efficiency plasmonic catalysts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)5061-5074
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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