Nanoparticles are endowed with electrocatalytical properties which render them important catalysts. Quantifying the catalytical activity of individual nanoparticles is essential to investigate the relationship between the reaction’s efficiency and nanoparticles’ composition, size and shape. So far, however, only electrocatalytical properties of multiple nanoparticles could be assessed.
Xiaonan Shan, Arizona University State, Tempe, USA, and colleagues showed that a plasmonic-based electrochemical current imaging method efficiently quantifies electrochemical currents of single nanoparticles. The approach undertaken by the scientists is based on surface plasmons, oscillations of free electrons in a metal electrode which cause changes in light reflectivity. As the conversion of reactants into reaction products in the proximity of a metal electrode excites its surface plasmons, as the electrochemical reaction proceeds, changes in light reflectivity are generated and converted into optical images which are directly related to the intensity of electrochemical currents.
- Imaging the electrocatalytic activity of single nanoparticles,
X. Shan, I. Díez-Pérez, L. Wang, P. Wiktor, Y. Gu, L. Zhang, W. Wang, J. Lu, S. Wang, Q. Gong, J. Li, N. Tao,
Nat. Nanotechnol. 2012.