Hybrid Nanoconjugates for Photocatalysis

Sunlight is the most abundant source of natural energy that can be used for photocatalytic water splitting and hydrogen production, which has become an emerging field of research. To appropriately capture solar energy in the visible region of the spectrum, we are exploring solid-state synthetic strategies to prepare unique hybrid nanoconjugates containing gold triangular nanoprisms (Au TNPs) to trap energy and metal oxide nanoparticles to perform catalysis. Metal oxide nanoparticles will be decorated on Au TNPs via a solid-state surface functionalization approach. We are exploring a newly designed surface functionalization chemistry that will prevent the recombination between photogenerated electrons and holes and thus enhance the photocatalytic efficiency. We expect that the strong EM field enhancement at the sharp tips and edges of Au TNPs will generate more excessive hot electrons than any other metal nanoparticles, which are routinely used in hybrid nanoconjugates preparation, thus increase the catalytic efficiency.