Featured Talk from the Conference
Plasmonic Catalysis: Heating vs. Hot Electrons
In plasmon-enhanced heterogeneous catalysis, illumination accelerates reaction rates by generating hot carriers and hot surfaces in the constituent nanostructured metals. “In order to understand how photo-generated carriers enhance the non-thermal reaction rate, the effects of local heating and thermal gradients in the catalyst bed must be confidently and quantitatively characterized” Dr. Jie Liu, said at Catalysis and Chemical Engineering Conference.
This is a challenging task considering the conflating effects of light absorption, heat transport, and reaction energetics. Here, Liu et al. has introduced a methodology to distinguish the thermal and non-thermal contributions from plasmon-enhanced catalysts, demonstrated by illuminated rhodium nanoparticles on oxide supports to catalyze the CO2 methanation reaction. By simultaneously measuring the total reaction rate and the temperature gradient of the catalyst bed, the effective thermal reaction rate may be extracted. Heat and light are shown to work synergistically in these reactions: the higher the temperature, the higher the non-thermal efficiency in plasmon-enhanced catalysis. Distinguishing and understanding the function of thermal energy and light in these new catalytic processes will be the key to develop real applications using plasmonic catalysis.
Jie Liu is the George B Geller Professor of Chemistry at Duke University. His research interests include synthesis and chemical functionalization of nanomaterials, plasmonic catalysis, nanoelectronic devices, and carbon nanomaterials. As a faculty member, Professor Liu has received the DuPont Young Professor Award, Outstanding Oversea Young Investigator Award from NSF-China, Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and Bass Professorship from Duke University for excellence in teaching and research. He is elected as a Fellow in AAAS (2013), APS (2014) and RSC (2013). He also serves as an associate editor for Nanoscale since 2012.