Label-free monitoring of plasmonic catalysis on the nanoscale
in: Analyst (2015)
Plasmonics is describing specific light mater interactions of metallic structures. In general the size of such structures is well in the nanometer regime and also determines specific behaviors like color, field confinement etc.. Plasmon-induced hot electrons play a vital role for so-called plasmonic catalysis, a field that recently attracted attention as a new reaction platform. Current reports introduce such nanoscale catalysis as an effective approach to concentrate and direct the energy of visible light to adsorbed molecules, such increasing the chemical reaction rate, and controlling the reaction selectivity. In this review, we present various plasmon-catalyzed reactions specifically monitored with Raman spectroscopy, namely surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), remote SERS (Re-SERS) and tip-enhanced Raman scattering (TERS). These techniques utilize the signal enhancing effect of the metal nanoparticles. However, at the same time they can be used to control the actual reactivity. In the first part, the mechanism of plasmonic catalysis will be introduced. Then it will be shown how catalytic reactions can be spectroscopically investigated far beyond the diffraction limit using TERS. Finally, the sensitivity of the methods will be discussed.