Tunable plasmonic core–shell heterostructure design for broadband light driven catalysis†
Considerable effort has been devoted to manipulating the optical absorption of metal nanostructures for diverse applications. However, it still remains a challenge to develop a general and flexible method to promote broadband absorption of metal nanostructures without changing their size and shape. Here, we report a new strategy of hybridizing two conceptually different optical models to realize broadband absorption enhancement of metal nanoparticles (NPs), which is enabled by constructing a core–shell heterostructure, consisting of a spherical dielectric core covered by a metal NPs interlayer and tunable semiconductor shell. This approach integrates the interfacial photon management, photoexcitation of metal NPs and injection of hot charge carriers into the semiconductor shell, and results in distinctly enhanced hot charge carrier generation and transfer, thereby boosting the broad-spectrum light driven catalysis. The structure–plasmon–catalysis interplay of the heterostructure is comprehensively studied and optimized. This proof-of-concept proves to be generally feasible by varying the type of both metal NPs and support medium, opening a new avenue to control the optoelectronic properties of materials.