First measurement of electron energy distributions

By | June 9, 2020
Hot electrons travel along the molecule into the probe tip. The molecule only allows electrons within a narrow range of energies to pass. (Enrique Shagun, Scixel)

The new tool could enable the design of more efficient sustainable energy and chemistry technologies.

Researchers from University of Michigan, Purdue University, and the University of Liverpool has figured out a way to measure how many “hot charge carriers” are present in a metal nanostructure. This is critical for efficient energy conversion.

The team believes that others can use it to explore and optimize nanostructures. This is important in applications such as converting sunlight to chemical energy because the number of hot charge carriers affects how well a catalyst can direct light energy toward a chemical reaction.

The study is described in a paper published in the journal Science, titled, “Determining plasmonic hot-carrier energy distributions via single-molecule transport measurements.”