Photocatalytic reactive oxygen species formation by semiconductor-metal hybrid nanoparticles. Toward light-induced modulation of biological processes

Nir Waiskopf, Yuval Ben-Shahar, Michael Galchenko, Inbal Carmel, Gilli Moshitzky, Hermona Soreq, Uri Banin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Semiconductor-metal hybrid nanoparticles manifest efficient light-induced spatial charge separation at the semiconductor-metal interface, as demonstrated by their use for hydrogen generation via water splitting. Here, we pioneer a study of their functionality as efficient photocatalysts for the formation of reactive oxygen species. We observed enhanced photocatalytic activity forming hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, and hydroxyl radicals upon light excitation, which was significantly larger than that of the semiconductor nanocrystals, attributed to the charge separation and the catalytic function of the metal tip. We used this photocatalytic functionality for modulating the enzymatic activity of horseradish peroxidase as a model system, demonstrating the potential use of hybrid nanoparticles as active agents for controlling biological processes through illumination. The capability to produce reactive oxygen species by illumination on-demand enhances the available peroxidase-based tools for research and opens the path for studying biological processes at high spatiotemporal resolution, laying the foundation for developing novel therapeutic approaches.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4266-4273
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Professor Dorit Ben-Shachar's lab from the department of psychiatry, B. Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa for assistance in the oxygen consumption measurements. The research leading to these results has received funding from The Israel Science Foundation (Grant 1560/13). U.B. thanks the Alfred and Erica Larisch memorial chair. H.S. acknowledges support by The Israel Science Foundation (Grant 817/13) and the Edmond and Lily Safra Center of Brain Science. N.W acknowledges support by a Clara Robert Einstein Scholarship. Y.B.S. acknowledges support by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Space, Israel and The Camber Scholarship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • Semiconductor-metal hybrid nanoparticles
  • peroxidase
  • photocatalysis
  • reactive oxygen species


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