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Plasmonic metal nanostructures offer a promising route to improve the solar energy conversion efficiency of semiconductors. Here we show that incorporation of a hematite nanorod array into a plasmonic gold nanohole array pattern significantly improves the photoelectrochemical water splitting performance, leading to an approximately tenfold increase in the photocurrent at a bias of 0.23 V versus Ag|AgCl under simulated solar radiation. Plasmon-induced resonant energy transfer is responsible for enhancement at the energies below the band edge, whereas above the absorption band edge of hematite, the surface plasmon polariton launches a guided wave mode inside the nanorods, with the nanorods acting as miniature optic fibres, enhancing the light absorption. In addition, the intense local plasmonic field can suppress the charge recombination in the hematite nanorod photoanode in a photoelectrochemical cell. Our results may provide a general approach to overcome the low optical absorption and spectral utilization of thin semiconductor nanostructures, while further reducing charge recombination losses.

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Li, Jiangtian., Cushing, Scott K., Zheng, Peng., Meng, Fanke., Chu, Deryn., & Wu, Nianqiang.(2013). Plasmon-Induced Photonic And Energy-Transfer Enhancement Of Solar Water Splitting By A Hematite Nanorod Array. Nature Communications, 4.