Al-Pd Nanodisk Heterodimers as Antenna-Reactor Photocatalysts

Chao Zhang, Hangqi Zhao, Linan Zhou, Andrea E. Schlather, Liangliang Dong, Michael J. McClain, Dayne F. Swearer, Peter Nordlander*, Naomi J. Halas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Photocatalysis uses light energy to drive chemical reactions. Conventional industrial catalysts are made of transition metal nanoparticles that interact only weakly with light, while metals such as Au, Ag, and Al that support surface plasmons interact strongly with light but are poor catalysts. By combining plasmonic and catalytic metal nanoparticles, the plasmonic "antenna" can couple light into the catalytic "reactor". This interaction induces an optical polarization in the reactor nanoparticle, forcing a plasmonic response. When this "forced plasmon" decays it can generate hot carriers, converting the catalyst into a photocatalyst. Here we show that precisely oriented, strongly coupled Al-Pd nanodisk heterodimers fabricated using nanoscale lithography can function as directional antenna-reactor photocatalyst complexes. The light-induced hydrogen dissociation rate on these structures is strongly dependent upon the polarization angle of the incident light with respect to the orientation of the antenna-reactor pair. Their high degree of structural precision allows us to microscopically quantify the photocatalytic activity per heterostructure, providing precise photocatalytic quantum efficiencies. This is the first example of precisely designed heterometallic nanostructure complexes for plasmon-enabled photocatalysis and paves the way for high-efficiency plasmonic photocatalysts by modular design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6677-6682
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 12 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aluminum
  • Heterodimer
  • Hot electron
  • Hydrogen dissociation
  • Palladium
  • Photocatalysis
  • Plasmonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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