Surface-plasmon enhanced catalytic CO2 conversion

Project summary

Plasmonic metal nanoparticles (NPs) such as Au, Ag and Cu can harvest visible light efficiently by their strong interaction with resonant photons through an excitation of surface plasmon resonance (SPR). The hot electrons can be transferred to the adsorbate acceptor states or relax by locally heating the nanostructures (photothermal effect). Thus, the excited plasmonic nanostructures can be employed to enhance the catalytic CO2 conversion.
Bimetallic-NPs which consist of plasmonic NPs and cocatalyst (Ni, Ru…) will simultaneously act as the light absorber and the catalytically active sites. There are three possible routes for such an enhancement. Under light irradiation, (1) the excited plasmonic NPs essentially traps light and locally amplifying the its effect on the adjacent cocatalyst; (2) the hot electrons generated from indirectly decay of plasmons could transfer to the cocatalyst; (3) the SPR effect might lead to heating of the surroundings (adjacent cocatalyst), which is similar to the thermal reaction conditions. To maximize such a bimetallic photothermal effect, both core-shell and heterogenous nanostructures can be designed. Moreover, efficient light absorption and electron transfer should be considered for the design of bi-metallic nanostructures. The SPR effect of metal NPs is very sensitive to the surroundings and the shapes, while the FDTD calculation could help us to design the optimal nanostructures.

International candidates need to obtain a Master degree in materials science, chemistry, or chemical engineering; however outstanding 4thundergraduate students with relevant research experience are encouraged to apply. Local candidates should ideally possess a 1st class honours degree in chemistry, chemical engineering or materials science; however holders of high level 2nd class honours degree with competent research experience are encouraged to apply.



  • Professor Rose Amal