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Product selectivity of alkyne hydroamination over catalyst Au2Co alloy nanoparticles (NPs) can be made switchable by a light-on, light-off process, yielding imine (cross-coupling product of aniline and alkyne) under visible-light irradiation, but 1,4-diphenylbutadiyne in the dark. The low-flux light irradiation concentrates aniline on the catalyst, accelerating the catalytic cross-coupling by several orders even at a very low overall aniline concentration (1.0×10-3 mol/L). A tentative mechanism is that Au2Co NPs absorb light, generating an intense fringing electromagnetic field and hot electrons. The sharp field-gradient (plasmonic optical force) can selectively enhance adsorption of light-polarizable aniline molecules on the catalyst. The light irradiation thereby alters the aniline/alkyne ratio at the NPs surface, switching product selectivity. This represents a new paradigm to modify a catalysis process by light.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
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