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Photocatalytic ammonia production enhanced by plasmonic near-field and hot electrons originating from aluminium nanostructures

Abstract

Ammonia production under room temperature and atmospheric pressure is in high demand for global energy saving and environment protection, especially reduction of CO2. Recently, plasmonic nanomaterials have been greatly used for solar to chemical energy conversion which has the potential to replace existing energy intensive industrial processes. In our approach, plasmonic aluminium nanotriangles (AlNTs) were used to investigate the impact of plasmonic effects on the photocatalytic ammonia production. Plasmonic near-field coupling to a semiconductor and hot electron generation from AlNTs were studied in details using electrochemical photocurrent measurements. A narrowband LED beam with central wavelength at 365 nm was illuminating the AlNTs and their hot electron generation efficiency was estimated to be 2 × 10-4 % resulting in an ammonia production rate of 4 × 10-5 µM h-1 mW-1 cm-2 which corresponds to a quantum efficiency of 2.5 × 10-5 %. In the case of plasmonic near-field coupling, AlNTs embedded TiO2 shows charge-carrier generation efficiency of 2.7% which is ~2.3 times higher than bare TiO2. The AlNTs-TiO2 ammonia production rate is 0.1 µM h-1 mW-1 cm-2 with a quantum efficiency of ~0.06% which corresponds to ~2.4 times the rate obtained by bare TiO2 (0.04 μM h-1 mW-1 cm-2, quantum efficiency ~0.025%). The obtained results confirm a successful ammonia production through nitrogen splitting at room temperature and under atmospheric pressure. Moreover, according to the presented results, the use of plasmonic aluminium structures remarkably improves the ammonia production rate.

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Publication details

The article was received on 04 Oct 2018, accepted on 20 Nov 2018 and first published on 20 Nov 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00146D
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Photocatalytic ammonia production enhanced by plasmonic near-field and hot electrons originating from aluminium nanostructures

    M. Thangamuthu, C. Santschi and O. J.F. Martin, Faraday Discuss., 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00146D

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