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Panchromatic photoproduction of H2 with surface plasmons.

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The optical resonances of plasmonic nanostructures depend critically on the geometrical details of the absorber. We show that this unique property of plasmons can potentially be used to create panchromatic absorbers covering most of the useful solar spectrum, by measuring the light-to-hydrogen conversion capabilities of a series multielectrode photocatalytic devices, based on functionalized gold nanorods of appropriately chosen aspect ratios. Judiciously combining nanorods of various aspect ratios almost doubles the H2 production of the device over what is optimally possible with a device using gold nanorods of a single aspect ratio (all other key parameters being equal). The estimated quantum efficiency (absorbed photons-to-hydrogen) averaged over the entire solar spectrum of the best performing plasmonic multielectrode array was approximately 0.1%, and the measured H2 production rate for all of the devices was found to be approximately proportional to the hot electron generation. The device was monitored continuously for over 200 hr of operation without measurable diminution in the rate.

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