Metal nanoparticle photocatalysts: emerging processes for green organic synthesis
Metal nanoparticle photocatalysts have attracted recent interest due to their strong absorption of visible and ultraviolet light. The energy absorbed by the metal conduction electrons and the intense electric fields in close proximity, created by the localized surface plasmon resonance effect, makes the crucial contribution of activating the molecules on the metal nanoparticles which facilitates chemical transformation. There are now many examples of successful reactions catalyzed by supported nanoparticles of pure metals and of metal alloys driven by light at ambient or moderate temperatures. These examples demonstrate these materials are a novel group of efficient photocatalysts for converting solar energy to chemical energy and that the mechanisms are distinct from those of semiconductor photocatalysts. We present here an overview of recent research on direct photocatalysis of supported metal nanoparticles for organic synthesis under light irradiation and discuss the significant reaction mechanisms that occur through light irradiation.
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