In the past decade, the surface plasmon resonance of Ag and Au nanoparticles has been investigated to improve the efficiency of photocatalytic processes. The photocatalytic production of fuels is particularly interesting for its ability to store the sun's energy in chemical bonds that can be released later without producing harmful byproducts. This Feature Article reviews recent work demonstrating plasmon-enhanced photocatalytic water splitting, reduction of CO2 with H2O to form hydrocarbon fuels, and degradation of organic molecules. Focus is placed on several possible mechanisms that have been previously discussed in the literature. A particular emphasis is given to several aspects of these mechanisms that are not fully understood and will require further investigation.
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