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Cavity-modified Chemistry: Towards Vacuum-field Catalysis

In the preceding chapters, electric field effects on chemical reactivity have been extensively discussed, focusing on STM setups and enzyme catalysis among many others. Here we will focus on a rather different and only recently explored approach to manipulate chemical reactions with electric fields. With the use of resonant cavity modes hosted in Fabry–Pérot cavities for instance, as well as plasmonic modes, very recent investigations have shown modifications of chemical reactivity and dynamics, including thermal reactions and photochemistry, as well as manipulation of materials properties and non-adiabatic processes. All these works have given birth to a new field termed polaritonic chemistry due to the fact that in the so-called strong-coupling regime, polaritons become the new eigenstates of the system. These are hybrid states of light and matter that inherit properties from both constituents, providing new means to modify chemical phenomena. The aim of this chapter is two-fold: on one side, we aim to provide a general background on confined light modes and strong coupling for the non-specialised reader, and on the other, we aim to review the recent achievements of the field, paying special attention to modifications in ground-state reactivity. To this end, the chapter is organised as follows. After an introduction to settle basic concepts, we review the most relevant experimental and theoretical work in which modified chemical reactivity has been reported and conclude with the challenges faced by the field.

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18 Mar 2021
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