(Gold core)/(titania shell) nanostructures for plasmon-enhanced photon harvesting and generation of reactive oxygen species†
Integration of gold and titania in a nanoscale core/shell architecture can offer large active metal/semiconductor interfacial areas and avoid aggregation and reshaping of the metal nanocrystal core. Such hybrid nanostructures are very useful for studying plasmon-enhanced/enabled processes and have great potential in light-harvesting applications. Herein we report on a facile route to (gold nanocrystal core)/(titania shell) nanostructures with their plasmon band synthetically variable from ∼700 nm to over 1000 nm. The coating method has also been applied to other mono- and bi-metallic Pd, Pt, Au nanocrystals. The gold/titania nanostructures have been employed as the scattering layer in dye-sensitized solar cells, with the resultant cells exhibiting a 13.3% increase in the power conversion efficiency and a 75% decrease in the scattering-layer thickness. Moreover, under resonant excitation, the gold/titania nanostructures can efficiently utilize low-energy photons to generate reactive oxygen species, including singlet oxygen and hydroxyl radicals.