Correlating structural dynamics and catalytic activity of AgAu nanoparticles with ultrafast spectroscopy and all-atom molecular dynamics simulations

GF Ferbonink and TS Rodrigues and DP dos Santos and PHC Camargo and RQ Albuquerque and RA Nome, FARADAY DISCUSSIONS, 208, 269-286 (2018).

DOI: 10.1039/c7fd00220c

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.

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