It has been known for many years that metallic nanoparticles can catalyze various chemical reactions, both in the dark and under illumination, through different mechanisms. In the last decade or so, many claims of plasmon-assisted "hot"electron driven catalysis of bond-dissociation reactions have been put forward. These claims were challenged in a recent series of papers where both the underlying theory of "hot"electron generation and the use of specific experimental setups to discover them in chemical reactions were examined in detail. The conclusion that arose from these works is that as long as temperature gradients exist inside the system (as for typical experimental setups), a quantification of non-thermal effects is close to impossible. Instead, a standard thermal theory was shown to be capable of explaining the experimental findings quite accurately. Here, we review the central lines of thought that led to these conclusions from a personal point of view. We lay out the key aspects of the theory and point to the specific caveats one must be aware of in performing photo-catalysis experiments. Finally, we provide some future directions of study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)