Photochemical transformations on plasmonic metal nanoparticles

An Erratum to this article was published on 23 June 2015

This article has been updated


The strong interaction of electromagnetic fields with plasmonic nanomaterials offers opportunities in various technologies that take advantage of photophysical processes amplified by this light–matter interaction. Recently, it has been shown that in addition to photophysical processes, optically excited plasmonic nanoparticles can also activate chemical transformations directly on their surfaces. This potentially offers a number of opportunities in the field of selective chemical synthesis. In this Review we summarize recent progress in the field of photochemical catalysis on plasmonic metallic nanostructures. We discuss the underlying physical mechanisms responsible for the observed chemical activity, and the issues that must be better understood to see progress in the field of plasmon-mediated photocatalysis.

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Figure 1: Mechanisms of phonon- and electron-driven reactions on metals.
Figure 2: Characteristics of plasmonic metallic nanoparticles.
Figure 3: Time evolution of electronic excitation in metals.
Figure 4: Examples of electron-triggered chemical transformations.
Figure 5: Indirect and direct charge-transfer mechanisms.
Figure 6: Direct charge transfer modelled using time-dependent density functional theory.
Figure 7: Light-induced switching of the oxidation states of copper nanoparticles.

Change history

  • 20 May 2015

    In the print version of this Review Article the symbols at the two ends of the x axis in Fig. 6a did not render correctly; they should have been Г. These are correct in the online versions of the Review Article.


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We gratefully acknowledge support from the United States Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science, Division of Chemical Sciences (FG-02-05ER15686) and National Science Foundation (CBET-1437601, CHE-1362120 and CHE-1111770). S.L. acknowledges the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

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S.L. wrote the manuscript. S.L. and the other authors were involved in discussions, gathering of literature and figure design.

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Correspondence to Suljo Linic.

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Linic, S., Aslam, U., Boerigter, C. et al. Photochemical transformations on plasmonic metal nanoparticles. Nature Mater 14, 567–576 (2015).

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