Plasmonic catalysis with titanium nitride nanocrystals for sustainable chemical reactions

Project no: GACR Standard (20-17636S)
Principal investigator: Alberto Naldoni, Ph.D.
Implementation period: 2020-2023;
Funding: 260 000 EUR

The project aims to develop new antenna–reactor nanohybrids based on plasmonic titanium nitride (TiN) nanocrystals and suitable metal co-catalyst for challenging chemical reactions having relevance in industry, energy and the environment such as (i) oxidation of 5‑Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) to 2,5‑Furandicarboxylic Acid (FDCA), (ii) H2 production from photoreforming of lignocellulose, and (iii) CO2 reduction. The project will leverage the thermal and electronic (hot carriers) plasmonic contributions to control the rate-determining step of each reaction, achieving enhanced chemical yield and/or enhanced product selectivity. The use of refractory and chemically stable TiN in photocatalysis is still unexplored. Different TiN morphology and different co-catalysts morphology (nanoparticles vs. single atom) and composition (mono or bimetallic alloys) will be investigated and structure-optical properties-activity relationships will be drawn to rationalize designer antenna-reactor nanosystems with enhanced reactivity.