In this contribution, I will shed light on the microscopic mechanisms involved in the enhancement of the photo-electrochemical performance of semiconductors by the joint action of metal co-catalysts and plasmonic metal nanoparticles. In particular, I will focus on the effect of Pt co-catalysts and Ag plasmonic nanoparticles on the activity of Si for the photo-electrochemical evolution of hydrogen.1–3 In addition to the description of my experimental findings, I will present a mathematical model that can capture all the main features of this fairly complex photo-electrocatalytic system. I will discuss how my findings can be transferred to any composite co-catalyst/plasmonic-metal/semiconductor photo-electrochemical system.
(1) Hou, Y.; Abrams, B.; Vesborg, P. Nat. Mater. 2011, 10, 434–438.
(2) Lombardi, I.; Marchionna, S.; Zangari, G.; Pizzini, S. Langmuir 2007, 23, 12413–12420.
(3) Ingram, D. B.; Christopher, P.; Bauer, J. L.; Linic, S. ACS Catal. 2011, 1, 1441–1447.
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