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Flow and extraction of energy and charge carriers in hybrid plasmonic nanostructures


Strong interactions of electromagnetic fields with plasmonic nanomaterials have been exploited in various applications. These applications have centred on plasmon-enhanced scattering rates in nearby molecules or plasmon-induced heating. A question that has emerged recently is whether it is possible to use plasmonic nanostructures in a range of hot electron (hole) applications, including photocatalysis, photovoltaics and photodetection. These applications require coupling of a plasmonic component, which amplifies the interaction of light with the material, to an attached non-plasmonic component that extracts this energy in the form of electronic excitations to perform a function. In this Perspective, we discuss recent work in the emerging field of hybrid plasmonics. We focus on fundamental questions related to the nanoscopic flow of energy and excited charge carriers in these multicomponent materials. We also address critical misconceptions, challenges and opportunities that require more attention.

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Fig. 1: Characteristics of plasmon excitation and decay.
Fig. 2: Plasmon decay in hybrid plasmonic nanostructures.
Fig. 3: Demonstrations of energy and charge transfer in hybrid plasmonic systems.
Fig. 4: Engineering energy flow in hybrid plasmonic systems.
Fig. 5: Applications of hybrid plasmonic materials.


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The work presented in this document was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (CHE-1800197). Secondary support was provided by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (DE-SC0021362) (analysis of optical interactions of materials with light) and the Office of Basic Energy Science, Division of Chemical Sciences (DE-SC0021008) (materials synthesis).

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

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Correspondence to Suljo Linic.

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Peer review information Nature Materials thanks Emiliano Cortés, Prineha Narang and Sebastian Schlücker for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Linic, S., Chavez, S. & Elias, R. Flow and extraction of energy and charge carriers in hybrid plasmonic nanostructures. Nat. Mater. 20, 916–924 (2021).

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