Energy-resolved plasmonic chemistry in individual nanoreactors
The effective absorption spectrum of metal-bound molecules and a rich plasmon-driven chemistry landscape are constructed by monitoring the interfacial environment of a thousand single nanocavities with slightly varied resonance energies.
Plasmonic resonances can concentrate light into exceptionally small volumes, which approach the molecular scale. The extreme light confinement provides an advantageous pathway to probe molecules at the surface of plasmonic nanostructures with highly sensitive spectroscopies, such as surface-enhanced Raman scattering. Unavoidable energy losses associated with metals, which are usually seen as a nuisance, carry invaluable information on energy transfer to the adsorbed molecules through the resonance linewidth. We measured a thousand single nanocavities with sharp gap plasmon resonances spanning the red to near-infrared spectral range and used changes in their linewidth, peak energy and surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectra to monitor energy transfer and plasmon-driven chemical reactions at their surface. Using methylene blue as a model system, we measured shifts in the absorption spectrum of molecules following surface adsorption and revealed a rich plasmon-driven reactivity landscape that consists of distinct reaction pathways that occur in separate resonance energy windows.