We study how visible light influences the activity of an electrocatalyst composed of Au and Pt nanoparticles. The bimetallic composition imparts a dual functionality: the Pt component catalyzes the electrochemical oxidation of ammonia to liberate hydrogen and the Au component absorbs visible light by the excitation of localized surface plasmon resonances. Under visible-light excitation, this catalyst exhibits enhanced electrochemical ammonia oxidation kinetics, outperforming previously reported electrochemical schemes. We trace the enhancement to a photochemical potential resulting from electron–hole carriers generated in the electrocatalyst by plasmonic excitation. The photopotential responsible for enhanced kinetics scales linearly with the light intensity—a general design principle for eliciting superlative photoelectrochemical performance from catalysts comprised of plasmonic metals or hybrids. We also determine a photochemical conversion coefficient.
- ammonia oxidation
- localized surface plasmon resonance
ASJC Scopus subject areas