Spurred by outstanding optical properties, metallic nanoparticles gain attention recently as photocatalysts. The nanoparticles efficiently harvest light over a visible spectral range that making them a convenient catalyst in reduction and oxidation reactions. The presence of native surfactant molecules on the metal surface inhibits electron transfer during the photochemical reactions, affecting thus the efficiency of the overall process. The use of conjugated macromolecules is a convenient strategy to improve not only the colloidal stability of the nanoparticles but also the photocatalytic activity.
The project aims at the synthesis of a hybrid colloidal system of enhanced light-harvesting capacity that comprises metallic nanoparticles core and a polymer shell. The surface functionalization of nanoparticles with the water-soluble conjugated polymer through the ligand exchange process will be a central task that will define the suitability of the nanoparticles for the use in the photochemical process, namely plasmon-assisted photoregeneration of cofactor molecules. The student will get familiar with the state-of-the-art colloidal synthesis of plasmonic nanoparticles and will receive practical training in spectroscopy and electron microscopy as well as image analysis.
Supervisor: Marek Grzelczak.