Plasmonic colloidosomes of black gold for solar energy harvesting and hotspots directed catalysis for CO2 to fuel conversion†
In this work, we showed the tuning of the catalytic behavior of dendritic plasmonic colloidosomes (DPCs) by plasmonic hotspots. A cycle-by-cycle solution-phase synthetic protocol yielded high-surface-area DPCs by controlled nucleation–growth of gold nanoparticles. These DPCs, which had varying interparticle distances and particle-size distribution, absorb light over the entire visible region as well as in the near-infrared region of the solar spectrum, transforming gold into black gold. They produced intense hotspots of localized electric fields as well as heat, which were quantified and visualized by Raman thermometry and electron energy loss spectroscopy plasmon mapping. These DPCs can be effectively utilized for the oxidation reaction of cinnamyl alcohol using pure oxygen as the oxidant, hydrosilylation of aldehydes, temperature jump assisted protein unfolding and purification of seawater to drinkable water via steam generation. Black gold DPCs also convert CO2 to methane (fuel) at atmospheric pressure and temperature, using solar energy.