In Situ Nanoscale Investigation of Catalytic Reactions in the Liquid Phase Using Zirconia-Protected Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Probes

Naresh Kumar, Caterina S. Wondergem, Andrew J. Wain, Bert M. Weckhuysen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) is a promising technique that enables nondestructive and label-free topographical and chemical imaging at the nanoscale. However, its scope for in situ characterization of catalytic reactions in the liquid phase has remained limited due to the lack of durable and chemically inert plasmonically active TERS probes. Herein, we present novel zirconia-protected TERS probes with 3 orders of magnitude increase in lifetime under ambient conditions compared to unprotected silver-coated probes, together with high stability in liquid media. Employing the plasmon-assisted oxidation of p-aminothiophenol as a model reaction, we demonstrate that the highly robust, durable, and chemically inert zirconia-protected TERS probes can be successfully used for nanoscale spatially resolved characterization of a photocatalytic reaction within an aqueous environment. The reported improved lifetime and stability of probes in a liquid environment extend the potential scope of TERS as a nanoanalytical tool not only to heterogeneous catalysis but also to a range of scientific disciplines in which dynamic solid-liquid interfaces play a defining role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1669-1675
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019

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