Journal article

Hot Adsorbate-Induced Retardation of the Internal Thermalization of Nonequilibrium Electrons in Adsorbate-Covered Metal Nanoparticles

Femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy has been used to investigate the electron-electron scattering dynamics in sulfate-covered gold nanoparticles of 2.5 and 9.2 nm in diameter. We observe an unexpected retardation of the absolute internal thermalization time compared to bulk gold, which is attributed to a negative feedback by the vibrationally excited sulfate molecules. These hot adsorbates, acting as a transient energy reservoir, result from the back and forth inelastic scattering of metal nonequilibrium electrons into the ð* orbital of the sulfate. The vibrationally excited adsorbates temporarily govern the dynamical behavior of nonequilibrium electrons in the metal by re-emitting hot electrons. In other terms, metal electrons reabsorb the energy deposited in the hot sulfates by a mechanism involving the charge resonance between the sulfate molecules and the gold NPs. The higher surface-to-volume ratio of sulfate-covered gold nanoparticles of 2.5 nm leads to a stronger inhibition of the internal thermalization. Interestingly, we also note an analogy between the mechanism described here for the slow-down of electron-electron scattering in metal nanoparticles by the hot adsorbates and the hot phonon-induced retardation of hot charge carriers cooling in semiconductors.


    Record created on 2006-08-29, modified on 2016-08-08

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