Ultrafast relaxation dynamics in bimetallic plasmonic catalysts†
Combining a plasmonic metal, such as gold, with other popular catalysts, such as Ni or Pt, can extend its benefits to many energy-extensive reactions catalyzed by those metals. The efficiency of a plasmon-enhanced catalytic reaction is mainly determined by the light absorption cross section and the photoexcited charge carrier relaxation dynamics of the nanoparticles. We have investigated the charge carrier relaxation dynamics of gold/nickel (Au/Ni) and gold/platinum (Au/Pt) bimetallic nanoparticles. We found that the addition of Ni or Pt to gold can reduce light absorption in gold nanoparticles. However, electron–phonon coupling rates of Au/Ni and Au/Pt nanoparticles are significantly faster than that of pure Au nanoparticles. This is due to the fact that both Ni and Pt possess significantly larger electron–phonon coupling constants and higher densities of states near the Fermi level in comparison with Au. Additionally, the phonon–phonon coupling rate of bimetallic Au/Pt and Au/Ni nanoparticles was significantly different from that of pure gold nanoparticles, due to the acoustic impedance mismatch at the nanoparticle/substrate interface. Our findings provide important insights into the rational design of bimetallic plasmonic catalysts.