Indexed on: 28 May '14Published on: 28 May '14Published in: Angewandte Chemie International Edition
A key to realizing the sustainable society is to develop highly active photocatalysts for selective organic synthesis effectively using sunlight as the energy source. Recently, metal-oxide-supported gold nanoparticles (NPs) have emerged as a new type of visible-light photocatalysts driven by the excitation of localized surface plasmon resonance of Au NPs. Here we show that visible-light irradiation (λ>430 nm) of TiO2 -supported Au NPs with a bimodal size distribution (BM-Au/TiO2 ) gives rise to the long-range (>40 nm) electron transport from about 14 small (ca. 2 nm) Au NPs to one large (ca. 9 nm) Au NP through the conduction band of TiO2 . As a result of the enhancement of charge separation, BM-Au/TiO2 exhibits a high level of visible-light activity for the one-step synthesis of azobenzenes from nitrobenzenes at 25 °C with a yield greater than 95 % and a selectivity greater than 99 %, whereas unimodal Au/TiO2 (UM-Au/TiO2 ) is photocatalytically inactive.