Correlating structural dynamics and catalytic activity of AgAu nanoparticles with ultrafast spectroscopy and all-atom molecular dynamics simulations
In this study, we investigated hollow AgAu nanoparticles with the goal of improving our understanding of the composition-dependent catalytic activity of these nanoparticles. AgAu nanoparticles were synthesized via the galvanic replacement method with controlled size and nanoparticle compositions. We studied extinction spectra with UV-Vis spectroscopy and simulations based on Mie theory and the boundary element method, and ultrafast spectroscopy measurements to characterize decay constants and the overall energy transfer dynamics as a function of AgAu composition. Electron–phonon coupling times for each composition were obtained from pump–power dependent pump–probe transients. These spectroscopic studies showed how nanoscale surface segregation, hollow interiors and porosity affect the surface plasmon resonance wavelength and fundamental electron–phonon coupling times. Analysis of the spectroscopic data was used to correlate electron–phonon coupling times to AgAu composition, and thus to surface segregation and catalytic activity. We have performed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of model hollow AgAu core–shell nanoparticles to characterize nanoparticle stability and equilibrium structures, besides providing atomic level views of nanoparticle surface segregation. Overall, the basic atomistic and electron-lattice dynamics of core–shell AgAu nanoparticles characterized here thus aid the mechanistic understanding and performance optimization of AgAu nanoparticle catalysts.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Designing Nanoparticle Systems for Catalysis