Two distinctive energy migration pathways of monolayer molecules on metal nanoparticle surfaces
Energy migrations at metal nanomaterial surfaces are fundamentally important to heterogeneous reactions. Here we report two distinctive energy migration pathways of monolayer adsorbate molecules on differently sized metal nanoparticle surfaces investigated with ultrafast vibrational spectroscopy. On a 5 nm platinum particle, within a few picoseconds the vibrational energy of a carbon monoxide adsorbate rapidly dissipates into the particle through electron/hole pair excitations, generating heat that quickly migrates on surface. In contrast, the lack of vibration-electron coupling on approximately 1 nm particles results in vibrational energy migration among adsorbates that occurs on a twenty times slower timescale. Further investigations reveal that the rapid carbon monoxide energy relaxation is also affected by the adsorption sites and the nature of the metal but to a lesser extent. These findings reflect the dependence of electron/vibration coupling on the metallic nature, size and surface site of nanoparticles and its significance in mediating energy relaxations and migrations on nanoparticle surfaces.