Project Info

Plasmonic Nanocrystals for Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Matthew Crane

Project Goals and Description:

Plasmonic metals have attracted significant interest due to their ability to perform chemical transformations at ambient conditions using solar irradiation through a phenomenon known as a localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). These LSPR resonances enhance optical absorbance in nanocrystals and focus light near the surface of these particles, enhancing reactions rates and reaction selectivity. While the optical properties of coinage metals (gold, silver, and copper) have been widely studied, other classes of nanocrystals have also been shown to exhibit LSPR. However, they have not been extensively evaluated. An advantage of studying new plasmonic materials is the ability to tune their plasmon resonance, giving us an invaluable opportunity to learn about the mechanisms that drive plasmonic chemistry. The goal of this research is to eventually produce efficient catalysts for a variety of industrially relevant reactions including carbon dioxide reduction to fuels and industrial precursors.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Make solar energy economical.
Marimuthu, A., Zhang, J., Linic, S., 2013. Tuning Selectivity in Propylene Epoxidation by Plasmonic Mediated Phot-Switching of Cu Oxidation State. Science, 339, 1590-1593. Aslam, U., Rao, G.V., Chavez, S., Linic, S., 2018. Catalytic conversion of solar to chemical energy on plasmonic metal nanostructures. Nature Catalysis, 1, 656-665.

Primary Contacts:

Matthew Crane, | Sara Russo,

Student Preparation


No specific qualifications are necessary. Students will be required to take the Laboratory Safety and Hazardous Waste Generation courses from ESH.




Synthesis skills, including operating a Schlenk Line Materials characterization Optics setup and optical characterization techniques Understanding of applied kinetics (Reactor set-up and data analysis) How to maintain a Lab Notebook Scientific writing and communication skills How to read journal articles


The student will conduct research under the guidance of the graduate students and should expect to interact and learn from them every time they are in the lab. The student will meet with Dr. Crane at least once a week to set short term goals, discuss progress and present findings. The student will be expected to attend weekly group meetings.


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