PerspectiveApplied Physics

Applying plasmonics to a sustainable future

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Science  02 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6341, pp. 908-909
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan5802

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Chemistry is fundamental for powering our society. A flurry of very promising experiments demonstrate that plasmonics may have a transformative impact on the way we will drive, manipulate, enhance, and monitor chemical processes in the future. Plasmonics offers the ultimate spatial and temporal control over light and photochemistry, with the help of metallic nanostructures capable of concentrating electromagnetic energy into nanoscale volumes. Surface plasmons (SPs) are charge-density oscillations at the surface of a conducting material and decay by reemission of a photon or through the creation of highly energetic (“hot”) electrons and holes. The subsequent equilibration of hot carriers with lattice phonons can lead to appreciable local heating.