Gold- and silver-based plasmonic materials have emerged as game changers in the field of solar-driven small-molecule activation because of their enhanced and broadly tunable absorption cross sections. This review essays the cutting-edge research in the field of plasmon-mediated small-molecule activation while highlighting the role of plasmonic nanostructures as photosensitizers, leading to the advent of numerous photocatalytic materials. Here we initiate the discussion with a basic overview of plasmonic optical properties, followed by a detailed analysis of three major categories of plasmon–catalyst hybrid constructs, namely, single-metal plasmonic materials, plasmon–semiconductor/metal-derived systems, and the recently developed plasmon–molecular catalyst assemblies. We also narrate the challenges faced in this nascent research field while depicting the scope of future development by implementing rational modifications of the plasmonic material and/or the cocatalyst to develop innovative hybrid constructs with divergent functionalities.
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- plasmon−molecular complex adduct
- plasmon−semiconductor assembly
- single-metal plasmon
- small-molecule activation