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Imaging Catalytic Hotspots on Single Plasmonic Nanostructures via Correlated Super-Resolution and Electron Microscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 04.06.2018, 00:00 by Ningmu Zou, Guanqun Chen, Xianwen Mao, Hao Shen, Eric Choudhary, Xiaochun Zhou, Peng Chen
Surface-plasmon (SP) enhanced catalysis on plasmonic nanostructures brings opportunities to increase catalytic efficiency and alter catalytic selectivity. Understanding the underlying mechanism requires quantitative measurements of catalytic enhancement on these nanostructures, whose intrinsic structural heterogeneity presents experimental challenges. Using correlated super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy, here we report a quantitative visualization of SP-enhanced catalytic activity at the nanoscale within single plasmonic nanostructures. We focus on two Au- and Ag-based linked nanostructures that present plasmonic hotspots at nanoscale gaps. Spatially localized higher reaction rates at these gaps vs nongap regions report the SP-induced catalytic enhancements, which show direct correlations with the nanostructure geometries and local electric field enhancements. Furthermore, the catalytic enhancement scales quadratically with the local actual light intensity, attributable to hot electron involvement in the catalytic enhancement mechanism. These discoveries highlight the effectiveness of correlated super-resolution and electron microscopy in interrogating nanoscale catalytic properties.

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