New perspectives in photocatalysis and near-surface chemistry: catalysis meets plasmonics

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Reducing the energy requirements and steering reactions to desired products in key chemical processes involved in the production of fuels and energy carriers for a net-zero economy and for environmental clean-up are some of the most pressing demands for a future sustainable society. This challenge is intimately linked to efficient use of the most abundant energy source available to us, light. Light also provides us with the means to control reaction pathways, opening in turn further opportunities to define new routes to the next generation of pharmaceuticals. We propose to develop a comprehensive research programme in order to understand, and harness, the application of a unified approach for harvesting light energy and channelling it to achieve required chemical outputs, with reduced generation of unwanted or hazardous by-products, using the extraordinary properties of surface plasmons, charge-density waves excited in metallic nanostructures by light. These excitations enable efficient use of electromagnetic radiation over a broad wavelength range from the ultraviolet to the infrared, while at the same time passing this energy on to energetic charge carriers and lattice oscillations, hence providing an efficient pathway from light to excited electronic states of molecules adsorbed at surfaces as well as to local heat. This combination can induce chemical transformations with lower activation barriers for chemical reactions and open up new paradigms for controlling chemical reactions switchable with light. It is here the research fields of plasmonics and catalysis meet. Our team, consisting of key experts from the UK plasmonics and catalysis communities, will explore new research directions enabled by applying plasmonic advances to catalysis (plasmo-catalysis) in order to achieve impact on technologies which are of enormous importance for a future sustainable society. The combination of superior light harvesting and tuning of reaction dynamics that this new field offers will open up a wealth of new possibilities to tackle key challenges in catalysis. In a unified approach based on fundamental research on plasmo-catalytic nanomaterials and nanostructures, we will develop common design and methodology principles and apply them to chemical reactions important in clean fuel production, environmental monitoring and clean-up, as well as pharmaceuticals manufacture. We will establish new strategies for light-driven chemical reaction pathways amenable to industrial scale-up, while at the same time educating a new set of highly interdisciplinary researchers equipped with a key set of skills needed for the advancement of a future sustainable society.

Publications

10 25 50
publication icon
Güsken N.A. (2022) Fluorescence enhancement of Er3+-ions using reverse hybrid plasmonic nano-focusing in 2022 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, CLEO 2022 - Proceedings

 
Description Newton International Fellowships 2022 (Dr Tsz Wing Lo)
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NIF\R1\221476 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2023 
End 01/2025
 
Title Characterisation of hot electron activity in metal films 
Description We have developed a technique to measure the activity and mobility of photo excited hot electrons at a metal surface. The technique uses ultrafast pump probe spectroscopy to measure a transient change in the metal surface's reflection due to the generation of hot electrons at the surface. By scanning the pump beam position in space relative to the fixed probe beam, the diffusion of hot carriers can be determined. Mobile hot carriers are expected to be available for initiating chemical reactions. In the current grant, yea re using this to study how effective the hot carriers in various metal films used for prosthetic implants might be for anti-microbial function. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2024 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This tool allows us the characterise hot electron generation and function in any metal film. We are using it here, to understand the availability of hot electrons for anti-microbial function in prosthetic implants. 
 
Title Spatially resolved Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy 
Description We have implemented a spatially resolved Raman spectroscopy set to measure Stokes and Anti-Stokes responses. The system is sensitive by employing feedback controlled positioning of laser excitation allowing for long integration times. In this way, we are able to measure the temperature of hot carriers. This has application in the analysis of hot carriers. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2024 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This tool enables us to observe directly the hot electron population and to distinguish this from the lattice temperature of metal nanostructures. This will aid in the understanding of photo catalysis and anti-microbial function of metal nanostructures and films. 
 
Title Data supporting publication: Metallic and All-Dielectric Metasurfaces Sustaining Displacement-Mediated Bound States in the Continuum 
Description This repository includes the data corresponding to the figures shown in the journal article entitled "Metallic and All-Dielectric Metasurfaces Sustaining Displacement-Mediated Bound States in the Continuum", published in Advanced Optical Materials. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2023 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://zenodo.org/record/8356426
 
Title Data supporting publication: Multi-band Metasurface-Driven Surface-Enhanced Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy for Improved Characterization of in-Situ Electrochemical Reactions 
Description This repository includes the data corresponding to the figures shown in the journal article entitled "Multi-band Metasurface-Driven Surface-Enhanced Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy for Improved Characterization of in-Situ Electrochemical Reactions", published in ACS Photonics. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2024 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://zenodo.org/doi/10.5281/zenodo.10687094
 
Title Data supporting publication: Multi-band Metasurface-Driven Surface-Enhanced Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy for Improved Characterization of in-Situ Electrochemical Reactions 
Description This repository includes the data corresponding to the figures shown in the journal article entitled "Multi-band Metasurface-Driven Surface-Enhanced Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy for Improved Characterization of in-Situ Electrochemical Reactions", published in ACS Photonics. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2024 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://zenodo.org/doi/10.5281/zenodo.10687095
 
Title Data supporting publication: Two-Dimensional Chiral Metasurfaces Obtained by Geometrically Simple Meta-atom Rotations 
Description This repository includes the data corresponding to the figures shown in the journal article entitled "Two-Dimensional Chiral Metasurfaces Obtained by Geometrically Simple Meta-atom Rotations", published in Nano Letters. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2023 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://zenodo.org/doi/10.5281/zenodo.10021562
 
Description EPSRC engineering net zero week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The team participated in EPSRC engineering net zero week, to disseminate information about the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.ukri.org/events/epsrc-engineering-net-zero-showcase/
 
Description Future Photonics Hub Industry Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Two members of the team had a stand in the exhibition to disseminate information about the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.photonicshubuk.org/shaping-the-future-of-photonics-at-the-hub-industry-day/
 
Description Imperial Lates: Tiny Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A research associate was invited to attend Imperial Lates, Tiny Science to showcase artwork that was designed for a previous project, so explain light matter interactions with nanomaterials. The events are very well attended by members of the public, and the stand was visited by many members of the public, which sparked discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/242191/materials-researchers-showcase-innovative-tiny-science/
 
Description London Plasmonics Forum 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The London Plasmonics Forum was hosted by CPLAS at Imperial College London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description London Plasmonics Forum 2023 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Hosted by CPLAS, The London Plasmonics Forum attacts over 100 researchers, and members of Industry each year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.cplas.org/london-plasmonics-forum/london-plasmonics-forum-2023/
 
Description STEM for Britain 2023 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Research associate participated in STEM for Britain at the Houses of Parliament organized by the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee to disseminate project findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://stemforbritain.org.uk
 
Description Small Gains 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact CPLAS Research Associate interviewed by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for an story about plasmo-catalyisis, and its potential applications in offshore hydrogen production.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://imeche.shorthandstories.com/4d131802-fe1b-4874-a3a6-1b50154179b2/index.html
 
Description UK Nanoday 2023 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact UK Nanoday was hosted by the London Centre for Nanotechnology in September 2023.
Members of the CPLAS team sat on the panel to dicuss the importance of creatvity in science. CPLAS had a stand to explain the fundementals of plasmo-catalysis, and it's applications. The team also devised and partipcated in a dancing acitvity to illustrate Plasmonic resonance to members of the public. Over 300 people attended the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.london-nano.com/news-events/lcn-celebrates-waves-first-uk-nanoday